'Pernicious tosh' of top up fee defenders 3

April 10, 2008

In your efforts to justify charging higher fees, you point to "crumbling infrastructure" and "creaking campuses" in what you regard as the underfunded education system of Ireland. This misleading view is the one that the Irish university presidents would like us to believe. In fact, if you look closer at Irish universities you'll be surprised and impressed by the new buildings and campuses that have appeared over the past 12 years since fees were abolished, many of which proudly display the names of private benefactors. A closer look at the student body reveals the extent to which participation has in fact widened since then: mature students, more representation from the expanding middle class and more students from access groups. You will also notice that the Irish workforce is better paid and less stressed than its UK counterpart, with one notable exception: senior management, who look enviously at how well their English cronies have been doing.

Edward Bressan, Oxford Brookes University.

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