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Saturday 20 July 2019

Bring back college tuition fees, say education experts

John Walshe Education Editor

Tuition fees should be re-introduced according to the majority of key opinion makers in the universities, research centres and Government departments.

A survey shows that despite the advent of free fees a decade ago, two thirds of those surveyed feel that third-level education is not accessible to students from disadvantaged backgrounds nor is it meeting the needs of Ireland's multi cultural population.

The survey carried out by Prospectus, a consultancy firm, reports the detailed responses of 175 leaders in higher education, research centres, Government departments and agencies.

Overall 57pc agree that abolishing free fees would be good for higher education. However, the breakdown shows that the Institutes of Technology are most in favour of retaining free fees.

Other findings show that:

l 60pc of universities leaders are in favour of abolishing free fees

l 71pc of researchers feel they should be abolished

l 63pc of government agencies (63%) are in favour of abolishing them

Prospectus also found that close to nine in 10 respondents (86pc) believe that the absence of a national strategy for higher education is hindering the advancement of the sector.

Almost the same percentage feel that the sector is underfunded, while more than eight in 10 (84pc) agree that structural reform of higher education institutions is both necessary and beneficial.

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