Sunday 19 November 2017

Colum Kenny: Years of neglect have taken their toll on higher education

We should get real about what we can afford in third level, and then do that well, writes Colum Kenny

If you care about young people leaving Ireland then you should hope that last week's Hunt Report on Higher Education will help them. But years of neglect and bad government have left our colleges poorly placed for the downturn. Real improvements will come slowly.

Young people are worried about work, and are already emigrating again. Some students have been sharing their anger about Ireland with me. So it was not encouraging to open the Hunt Report and see a glossy picture of Minister for Education and Skills Mary Coughlan staring out. Coughlan's foreword is full of the high-sounding language that litters consultancy reports, of which we have had far too many instead of proper government.

She talks of creating "an innovation island" and "an international reputation of strength and excellence", while in reality our underlying educational and health and social services are being worn down.

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