An expedited university for Ireland’s South East?
According to a report in today’s Irish Times, the Minister for Enterprise and Jobs, Richard Bruton TD, has said the Irish government will ‘“accelerate” the establishment of a technological university in the southeast’, in the aftermath of significant job losses in the region. What is presumably implied in this statement is that proposed new mechanisms for concerting clusters of institutes of technology into a ‘technological university’ will now be fast tracked.
I am not opposed to the new framework, but it needs to be worked out carefully. It will require legislation, and this in turn will have a significant impact on the university system in Ireland more generally. Whether this process should be ‘accelerated’ as a response to disappointing job losses may, it seems to me, be open to some question. It is also somewhat risky to suggest, as the statement does by implication, that establishing a new university in this way will have a quick impact on local employment growth.
It is very understandable that the government wants to be seen to be doing something after recent news, but this is a bigger issue than just renaming Waterford Institute of Technology. Some care needs to be taken to get this right.