Sunday 25 February 2018

Editorial: Colleges debacle calls for urgent quality code

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn

The official response to the unfolding developments in private colleges catering for international students is akin to calling in the coastguard after sitting back and hoping that a ship doesn't run aground.

By the time the distress signal goes up, it's too late; the damage is done. Genuine international students, who now find themselves suffering financial hardship and facing an uncertain future, because of the sudden closure of some private colleges, know that all too well.

They trusted Ireland's claim to be a quality education destination and have discovered the hard way that standards are not necessarily up to scratch. It is less easy to quantify, but inevitably too, there has been damage to Ireland's reputation by the doubtful quality of some courses and, in certain cases, breaches of immigration rules, as outlined in reports from the educational standards' body, Quality and Qualifications Ireland. Education Minister Ruairi Quinn admitted this week that some schools were abusing the system and were effectively a front to provide access to the Irish jobs market, at a cost.

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