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Falling standards are now part and parcel of our third-level education

Press Release

Thursday 6 Mar 2014

This country cannot escape years of education cuts unscathed, Nessa Childers MEP said today as one influential report shows that Ireland’s universities and colleges are viewed as increasingly irrelevant academically.

‘Irish academic institutions have the potential to hold their own amid the best in the world – but sadly recent years of austerity have chipped away at the most basic of amenities,’ the independent politician said.

‘Reduced library opening hours, fewer research projects, a lack of specialist laboratory facilities and dwindling staff numbers are just some of the ways in which third-level students in this country are being sold short.

‘The result,’ Ms Childers said, ‘is unsurprising: falling standards and damaged reputations.’

The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014 was released yesterday evening. Harvard University topped the list of 100, with Cambridge and Oxford coming in at numbers four and five respectively. More than 10,500 leading academics – including those based in Ireland – contributed to the compilation.

It is the fourth year in a row that Ireland has failed to feature.

‘Given that successive governmental Budgets have also hiked up the registration fees so that it now stands at some €3,000, this lack of State investment and support is particularly difficult to grasp,’ Ms Childers added.

‘Cutting back on education means the generation of tomorrow, the workers of tomorrow and, indeed, the taxpayers of tomorrow are all being maimed.

‘And the long-term impact of that is mammoth.’