Sunday 19 November 2017

Richard Tol: Colleges falling further behind as Government fails to learn lessons

THE latest university rankings are out. Ireland's universities dropped a few places. Again. Cue calls for an end to austerity in third-level education. Again. But the Government does not have any money. The universities should learn to be excellent within their means.

The universities are not that bad actually. Ireland used to punch well above its weight with two universities in the international second tier plus a few third-tier institutions. The current rankings are closer to what you would expect from a small but rich country. Even with all the money in Ireland, a relative decline would be inevitable as countries from China to Saudi Arabia are building world-class universities at a frightening pace.

But Ireland's universities could do better, also without extra money from the taxpayer. For that, they need to solve two core problems: scale and red tape.

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