Wednesday 22 November 2017

Cash-starved universities in crisis

The Government has to put money where its mouth is on funding for third level, writes Daniel McConnell

Last Thursday in Leinster House, the heads of the seven Irish universities were hauled before the Oireachtas Committee on Education.

They were there to discuss the issue of fees and their impact on students, but throughout the course of the hearing, a much more startling pictured emerged. The message was clear: Irish academia is in deep crisis.

Like seven battle-weary generals, they trooped in to deliver a sermon that they are overseeing a failed third-level sector. Debt-ridden, starved of adequate funding, beset by mediocrity in terms of services, lecturers and facilities, and now facing the prospect of many of our most talented students being poached by top UK rivals like Oxford and Cambridge, the seven Irish universities are falling apart at the seams.

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