Irish higher education and a strategic purpose

As I write this on the morning of January 11, we are awaiting the formal launch of the report by Dr Colin Hunt’s group on higher education strategy. Just now, if you go to the website of the Department of Education and Skills, and click on the link headed ‘Strategy for Higher Education’, you get a page that tells you that there is an ‘error’ and that the ‘object is not found’. But what is the ‘object’? Presumably a clear vision for the future of Irish higher education.

The early criticisms of the not-yet-published report, including the latest (by my successor as DCU President, Professor Brian MacCraith), all tend to point out that the report lacks a clear strategic focus, or a vision about the future direction of Irish higher education. There is also an early stream of criticism by trade unions.

As I have noted previously, my own view is that the report has avoided pedagogy and scholarly insight for a framework of bureaucratic oversight. It is not too late for those launching the report to indicate that there is a better, more compelling vision underlying it. Let us see what is said today.

PS. The link from the Department website has now been changed (at midday) – though now, rather than linking to the (now published) report, it just links to the HEA home page.

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6 Comments on “Irish higher education and a strategic purpose”

  1. Al Says:

    I think most of the criticisms come from the way we do business in this country.
    There are too many vested interests competing for the establishment of their truth and their beliefs.
    At the begining of all such reports should be a statement of positions taken by all parties and a summary of the validity of the opinions there.
    We seem to approach this like TD’s afraid to piss off anyone, whereas it shouldnt be an issue.

  2. Perry Share Says:

    I think it is telling that a report that claims to establish the landscape for the next twenty years has attracted so little comment on a blog that is specifically aimed at people in that sector.

    I would imagine that this is because a) so much of the report has been leaked already that there is nothing at all that is surprising in it; b) it is
    short on specifics that people can engage in; and c) it doesn’t really address the key issues that are impacting on HE – technology, access, pedagogy.

    First impressions are underwhelming, but I still need to read through the thing in detail.


    • I’ll blog on this later, but we have now had a fair number of statements made in response to Hunt – and some of the newer ones take a more supportive tone (e.g. IBEC, IUA etc). For all that, there is no sense that this report has generated a sense of excitement at the possibility of renewal and development; it’s not that kind of report. There are lots of details in it, but not really an overall picture of how the Hunt group want to reform the system – beyond the new element of control that I have already mentioned.

  3. Dan Says:

    Out of curiosity, has anybody identified any substantive differences between the draft ‘leaked’ from August and this, the final version?


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