Posted tagged ‘‘technological universities’’

From Waterford to Carlow – the runaway train still on track

September 1, 2015

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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Talking points: For heaven’s sake stop obsessing about mergers

August 5, 2015

The extraordinary public policy obsession in Ireland with the idea that merged multi-campus institutes of technology must inevitably be more university-like than stand-alone ones continues. A report by the former chair of the Higher Education Authority, Michael Kelly, has just been published and welcomed by the Minister for Education. It is being seen as a potential blueprint for renewed merger discussions between Waterford and Carlow Institutes, as a merger is a requisite for achieving ‘technological university’ status (in itself a very doubtful concept). Michael Kelly’s report, apart from introducing the unattractive acronym TUSE for the proposed ‘technological university’, provides little evidence that a merger would advance the key quality criteria for a university; indeed the report recognises that to date collaboration between the two did not really develop because of the different nature of the two institutes and their lack of physical proximity.

I can absolutely see the case for a University of Waterford. I can see no case for a merger between two largely incompatible institutions, one of which manifestly is not of university level standing. This policy makes no sense whatsoever.