Saturday, August 30, 2008

Behind the fees-smokescreen - a struggle for control?

Connell Fanning argues in today's Irish Times that much of the recent public debacle about fees in Irish HE is effectively missing the point.

Marion Coy, the Director of GMIT made a similar comment a few weeks back when she said that the fees were a red herring and distracted from the basic fact that higher education, at a time in which it is stretched to its limits, is being subject to cutbacks, that issue being lost in the attention given to the threat of fees.

Prof. Fanning's take is different in that his argument is that the real issue is one of increasing central government control and micro-management of the sector, something that can be seen by the incorporation of university pension schemes into those of the civil service. Autonomy is under threat, in his view, and this poses a very real danger for the institution.

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