Tuesday 27 June 2017

New plan for government must prioritise plan for funding third-level education

'Universities are brushing up against the limits of what can be obtained from other sources such as philanthropy and commercial activities. As it is, less than half of Trinity’s income now comes from the exchequer.' Getty Images
'Universities are brushing up against the limits of what can be obtained from other sources such as philanthropy and commercial activities. As it is, less than half of Trinity’s income now comes from the exchequer.' Getty Images

Patrick Prendergast

Higher education barely got a mention during the General Election campaign. That was understandable - the election was dominated by issues such as health, housing, fairness and the economic recovery. One reason given was that we were awaiting the report of the Expert Group on Future Funding of Higher Education. The broad details are now in the public domain thanks to yesterday's Irish Independent.

But those negotiating the programme for the new government cannot afford to wait for that report to be published. The programme has to include decisions about funding higher education for two very good reasons - demographic and economic.

Ireland is fortunate to have such a young population, with record numbers of students in primary and secondary schools.

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