Tuition fees and social conscience
Earlier this week the Irish Times published a letter in which the writer questioned the support of university presidents (in this case UCD President Hugh Brady) for tuition fees, and in particular voiced disapproval that they might cite social equality as a reason. Instead, the writer argued that support for fees was something typical of ‘right-wing economists, politicians and most of the other heads of the universities.’ Technically this no longer includes me, but I have a suspicion that I might have ben part of the writers rogue’s gallery of alleged rightwingers.
Without wanting to comment on the views of any individual president, it has to be said that the social equity argument for the return of fees is very powerful indeed. The majority of university students come from better off families, and therefore the greater part of the taxpayer’s investment benefits them. By contrast, those from disadvantaged backgrounds are still hugely under-represented. Querying the acceptability of this state of affairs may be all sorts of things, but it is not right wing in nature. Those who take a different view (as of course they are entitled to do) should nevertheless take the trouble to engage with the argument rather than trying to shout down those making a case for fees with silly insults. Having this debate is good, but it needs to be conducted with a little intelligence.
PS. This is probably the last post I shall ever be writing from the DCU campus, as today I shall finally be leaving the President’s house that has been my home for the past ten years. Time flies.Explore posts in the same categories: higher education
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