Considering that our future is so dependant on the so-called ‘knowledge economy’, it is worrying in the extreme to learn that most Irish universities have fallen dramatically in the latest international third-level rankings.
This year’s Times Higher Education tables see UCD – Ireland’s largest university – drop more than 60 places, and out of the world’s top 200 institutions. While UCD regards the drop as puzzling and not a reflection of its worth and achievements, the trend has been downward in recent years for Irish universities in such league tables. The QS university rankings has also shown Irish institutions fall. The only college to improve its rank in both league tables has been UCG while UCC appears to be holding steady.
UCD points out that the latest QS rankings show it at 139th place, the same as last year, but that was still down on previous years. It may be too simplistic to say that the huge drop in investment in third-level education in Ireland is to blame, but it is undoubtedly a factor.
The Higher Education Authority says Ireland runs serious risks to the quality of our third-level system if funding is not addressed. With Asian universities making strides, it is essential that Irish colleges can compete on a global scale.
If Irish business was showing a similar decline then the Government would act quickly to halt it. Irish universities deserve nothing less.
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