From Waterford to Carlow – the runaway train still on track

As evidence of the truth that bad ideas are particularly hard to kill, everyone continues to conspire to ensure that the idiotic notion of a ‘technological university’ for the South-East of Ireland built on a shotgun marriage between Waterford and Carlow institutes of technology comes to pass. What most of us, or maybe any of us, say to this probably makes no difference to those driving this crazy policy, but anyway, I wrote the following letter to the Editor of the Irish Independent.

‘So, we are told that a new “technological university” for the South-East is “back on track”. There is a good case to be made for a normal university for Waterford, but the concept of the multi-campus “technological university” is crazy. What WIT has been told is that it is not qualified to be a university, but that if it merges with a much weaker institution (Carlow IT) located miles away it will be eligible. This makes no sense of any kind, and is a recipe for disaster.

The whole idea of “technological universities” dreamt up in the Hunt Report is badly thought through, and the government really should not be going ahead with it. There is no evidence anywhere that creating multi-location institutions with no track record of strategic collaboration or coordinated provision is a good idea.

This really does need to go back to the drawing board.’

 It will all happen anyway of course. Evidence-based policies are not in fashion.

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3 Comments on “From Waterford to Carlow – the runaway train still on track”

  1. Vince Says:

    Isn’t the core of what the politicians are up to focused on UL, NUI Galway with the GMIT and wanting the same for the southeast.
    Originally Waterford was a trade school, designed to supply craftsmen to the industry in Waterford. But it was never seen by those who attended university from the southeast as a valid option simply because until about 1995 those attending 3rd level came from farming or merchant families and the professions. In fact the tax code was designed to facilitate their entry and in such a way as to be blatantly discriminatory.
    So, what is the intent for WIT/W&CU. What is hoped will result. Will high maths high school leavers flock to the place by dint of a name change. Will it open a new medical school. Will it be focused on local industry (and lets be frank here. That wouldn’t test a primary school so few industrial entities exists in the southeast.).
    And just why they couldn’t for a university of the south with UL, UCC and WIT forming the body corporate, a 3 in 1.

  2. Greg Foley Says:

    As Ben Goldacre says “You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into”.

  3. Tim O'Riordan Says:

    WIT have been bullied by the HEA/Department of Ed since they applied for a section 9 review in 2005. Some of this bullying has been very public (the three WIT Presidents and two Chairmen who abruptly vacated their offices; the nasty outings to the pac- note the difference in treatment that CIT is receiving), and the many many behind the scenes, day-to-day acts of ruthless injustice.

    WIT were threatened in the harshest way and so have returned to the table to save politicians blushes. They will sit there until the election is done, pretending to be open to discussions. Within WIT we feel totally betrayed by FG and Labour- both of whom promised a full university in the 2011 GE campaign, and spent the previous six years savaging FF for not responding to our section 9 application.

    The merger is not the main fight here. WIT would be happy to merge with Carlow if it was going to produce an institution that was equivalent to a university (in terms of powers and funding). As currently proposed TUs will just be merged IoTs. Half of the IoTs are expected to become TUs in the first wave; most plan to follow. There will still be two budget pools (uni and TU/IoT) and actually less powers/autonomy.

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