Category: Education

Characteristics of the World’s Best School Systems

Characteristics of the world’s best school systems

Edward Walsh                                                                                   31 October 2008

Competition in the knowledge economy is a race for talent and governments worldwide have been boosting educational expenditure to improve facilities, increase teachers’ salaries and reduce class size. Australia has almost tripled educational spending. In the US class sizes are at the lowest ever and spending has doubled since 1980.  


But to their surprise many governments have found that major increases in investment, reduced class sizes, increased teacher salaries and new facilities have not had any significant impact on student performance as measured again and again by the Continue reading...

University Fees

University fees are going to be reintroduced.  The only question is how and when.


The answer to the first question is found in places like Australia and New Zealand. There, all students who go on to third-level pay fees, but have available a government supported Income Contingent Loan (ICL) system which, when required, covers the cost both of fees and living expenses.


Individuals repay their loans during their working lives through the tax system.  Repayment does not commence until one’s earnings rise above a certain level.  The loan system not only covers fees but also … Continue reading...

University for Waterford

The Case for a University in Waterford…and nowhere else

Led by Cork, twelve Institutes of Technology are ganging-up on Waterford.

Cork IT’s mischievous application for university status last week, followed within days by eleven other ITs, is designed to scupper Waterford’s strong case for a university. IT directors are attempting to intimidate the Minister and Government just weeks before a decision is due on the South-East’s case for a university.

Cork is at it again!

Some 20 years ago, at the time when the Government was close to making the decision to establish the University of Limerick,  the director of … Continue reading...

Remunerating University Presidents

Remunerating University Presidents

Ed Walsh

Competition in the knowledge age has become a race for
talent: universities have moved to the apex of the competitive system in developed
countries. World-class universities give a special competitive edge: they strongly
influence foreign direct investment and wealth creation. As a result
governments globally are pressing to ensure that their universities are vibrant
and competitive.


Most European governments are agitated by the fact that
their universities fare so badly in new international rankings. Prior to World
War II the world’s best universities were in Europe.  Now the US wins most of the Nobel … Continue reading...

Wrixon: UCC’s Courageous President

During my years as president of the University of Limerick my colleagues and I were pleased indeed at the relaxed approach to change and development adopted by successive presidents in UCC.  As Cork dawdled Limerick forged ahead. Year after year Cork’s lead was narrowed, and in certain areas eliminated. In rapid succession a series of spanking new buildings emerged on the Limerick campus with funding from the World Bank and then the European Investment Bank. New academic programmes were launched and student numbers grew.  Then, with a major fundraising drive in the US, further new laboratories, student residences, sports facilities, … Continue reading...

Leaving Certificate Examination Grades

In a decade the percentage of CAO applicants with more than 450 points has almost doubled.  Prior to 1995 it was most exceptional for any student to achieve the six A1 Leaving Cert grades necessary to produce the highest possible score of 600 CAO points; yet last year 145 students did.

At face value this would suggest that there has been a remarkable quality transformation, either as a result of an increase in student IQ or an astonishing improvement in the school system.

While one would hope that both may have contributed to some extent to the grade inflation that … Continue reading...

Waterford & its University: 2005

Waterford is Ireland’s only Gateway city without a university. The proportion of the population in the South East region with degrees is 25 percent lower than even in the West, the traditional focus of government regional attention. Because of its skills deficit advanced manufacturing and service enterprise has tended to bypass the South East, leaving what was once one of Ireland’s most prosperous regions now one of its weakest. Without corrective action the region’s problems are likely to grow as labour-intensive enterprise is driven from Ireland by high labour costs and intrusive regulation.

A recent report by Goodbody Economic Consultants … Continue reading...

Fees & University Funding

In 1996, the same year that China announced it was introducing university fees, Ireland informed its electorate that fees would be abolished.  The decision was taken quickly because of the political exigencies of the day. There was no consultation: the universities learned of the decision through the media. No attempt was made to explain how the decision would make Ireland a better place, or why Ireland was abolishing university fees at a time when most other developed countries were heading in the opposite direction. But the electorate demanded no explanation; the middle classes and well-to-do welcomed the decision enthusiastically. Why … Continue reading...

UCC Conferring 2004

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Privatising Universities




Station:                NEWSTALK 106

Programme:        DAVID McWILLIAMS

Date:                    21 May 04


Presenter:  Let us stick with the idea of perceived elitism in education because it’s once again come under the radar stream with the publications in the papers yesterday of this idea of League Tables. The issue is going to be discussed in Liberty Hall tomorrow where SIPTU will be discussing the threat of privatised and privatising universities as well as secondary schools.  But SIPTU is very, very much against the threat of privatising universities.  For many, privatisation would limit student Continue reading...