Engineering in crisis
SOMETHING has gone badly wrong on Ireland's road to the "knowledge economy". It shows itself in the figures for students graduating in engineering and computer science. It shows itself with equal if not greater starkness in the labour market.
In Dublin City University in 2005, 224 students graduated with a BSc in computer applications. In 2006, only 92 qualified. Last year, the figure was 78. This year, it has gone down to 70.
There are about 5,000 job vacancies in engineering and an estimated 10,000 in computing. In some Dublin computer firms, 55pc of recently hired employees come from outside Ireland. These occupations are open only to those who have achieved high Leaving Certificate points and succeeded in a tough course of study at higher level, but they do not carry the same attraction as other high-points careers like law and medicine.