Doing it all over again – and again – for the very first time!

I do hope it was a slip of the tongue! On RTE’s programme Morning Ireland on Thursday, the Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O’Keeffe TD, was very positive about the potential impact of the higher education strategy review currently under way, where I understand that the steering group will report in a month or two. This, he said, was so important because it was ‘the first time ever’ that a comprehensive review of higher education had been undertaken. Really? ‘First time ever’?

I’m afraid it’s not even nearly the first time. The last occasion was only very recent – the OECD review of Irish higher education commissioned by the then Minister, Mr Noel Dempsey TD. It reported in 2004 and made a number of very important recommendations, which were widely discussed. But not implemented. And now forgotten, at any rate as we see in the Department of Education. We must all hope that in, say, 2016 the Minister’s successor will not be announcing that a comprehensive strategic review of Irish higher education was to be set up for the first time ever. But just in case, I’ll be there, and will certainly be referring back to 2010.

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2 Comments on “Doing it all over again – and again – for the very first time!”

  1. Perry Share Says:

    Though it is notable that whenever the government decides to ‘review’ HE, it looks to some outside body or group, presumably so that a) it need bear no responsibility for what is said and b) so it can blithely ignore the recommendations. So we have had, in recent times, the Skilbeck report (an Australian), the OECD report, and now the Hunt Report (an Irishman, though again with Australian connections). Makes you wonder what the role of the DES actually is when it comes to HE?


    • Perry, I wouldn’t call the Hunt group non-Irish. It seems to me to have the right mix of domestic and overseas members. What I am more concerned about is whether anyone will take a blind bit of notice of what they say!


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