Make a decision! - Universities in decline

Long-fingering the decision, kicking the can down the road, putting it on the back boiler, or — a new one — call a citizens’ convention. 

Use whatever cliche you choose but essential decisions on third level fees have been dodged by government after government. It’s not too hard to blame the politicians, as no matter what decision is eventually made, there will be powerful, vociferous opposition — and the campaign against water charges has shown that emotion often trumps rational thought in these matters.

The latest international university rankings, though far from a perfect process, do not include one Irish university in the top 200. There are many contributory factors to this decline but they all revolve around resources. State funding has dropped by almost 40% since the economic collapse, down from €1.4bn in 2007-08 to about €860m this year. At the same time, student numbers have increased significantly but staff numbers have fallen. This is unsustainable; eventually everyone will lose. Leadership, at least worthwhile leadership, means taking hard decisions. Get on with it, Mr Kenny!


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