Saturday 10 December 2016

Martina Devlin: Limit access to college through fees and all of society will lose

Published 18/08/2011 | 05:00

I CAN'T honestly say my student years were the glory days but they were a formative period: useful, enlightening, conducive to maturity and life enhancing -- sometimes even because of what I learned in the lecture halls.

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This time apart between school and work was an exceptional apprenticeship for life, and it gave weight to two essential arts: the need to be open and the value of independent thought. Those arts are not necessarily taught in the classroom, with its emphasis on rote learning. Nor are they automatically prized in every workplace. But they are valuable skills and third-level institutes foster them.

During the civic unrest in London, what came home most powerfully to me was how many of the rioters had no expectation of social mobility. Society needs to make that aspiration a possibility, because the absence of hope leaves a scar.

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