FitzGerald voices fears over the NUI abolition
GOVERNMENT plans for higher education will lead to political interference in universities, former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald warned last night.
He appealed to Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe to reconsider the decision to set up a new amalgamated qualifications and quality assurance agency, which was announced along with the abolition of the National University of Ireland (NUI).
Dr FitzGerald, former NUI chancellor, said: "Political involvement in the quality of degrees through control by a statutory agency carries obvious dangers, because in relation to higher education governments sometimes actively pursue non-academic objectives of an economic, or alternatively populist, character."
Meanwhile, the University Senate said the dissolution of the NUI would be damaging to Irish higher education. "Its name is well established. Its degrees enjoy a high level of recognition nationally and internationally. The announcement... has caused understandable anxiety."