Posted tagged ‘Seán Kelly’

Pretending it’s all easy

October 18, 2010

Hot on the heels of my recent post on international student recruitment, today’s edition of the Irish Examiner newspaper has a letter to the editor from Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly (Ireland South) in which he suggests that all of our problems with university funding could be resolved, and the need for tuition fees overcome, if Irish universities were to recruit ‘larger numbers of students who wish to travel to Ireland to complete their higher level education’. This is exactly the kind of statement politicians sometimes make when they really don’t understand higher education at all. The idea that we should invite international students to take the place of the Irish exchequer, and indeed of Irish students themselves, and subsidise our sector is mind-numbingly naive.

In the end politicians need to stop wishing for a fairytale scenario (getting philanthropists to pick up the tab is another favourite) in which there is an easy solution to higher education funding that does not require substantial new taxpayer investment or tuition fees. One or the other of these two steps must be taken. There is no other option. Doing neither means serious decline for Ireland as a country.