International Educator - May/June 2012 - 36
Europe developing alternate sources of higher education funding beyond state and student contributions. With respect to Irish higher education, in addition to revenues from foreign students, how optimistic are you that other nongovernmental financial resources can be found to help fund Irish higher education?
QUINN: In the present climate, I would be cautiously optimistic, not wildly optimistic. There isn’t the same tradition of endowments in universities in the European sector as there is in the United States. Of course, the level of endowments in the United States varies dramatically across the spectrum of your universities. IE: Several Irish university students I
a particular look at the impact of financial crisis in higher education in Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Greece. You mentioned that many are now excluding Ireland from that group. One thing the educators I’ve spoken to have said is that the Irish higher education sector has had greater success in containing the damage caused by the crisis. Actually, they’ve said Irish Higher Education Authority has done a relatively good job. Would you agree and why has Ireland been better able to address the financial crisis?
QUINN: First of all, all of the salaries of the lecturers and the staff who were on permanent contract have been protected, so there hasn’t been the decimation in terms of salary. Sadly, short-term contracts have not been renewed. Because we have a social partnership agreement with the trade unions and academic staff would be largely unionized, the public service salaries would be protected in return for increase of productivity. The agreement was negotiated in the Croke Park Stadium in Dublin and it’s known as the Croke Park Agreement. It has another year to run. It’s producing some of that productivity that is contained within it, but it’s also providing salary stability, which is not the case obviously in some other countries at the moment. That in turn has helped maintain morale within our system. IE: Should the EU expand its role in
spoke to said that when they graduated, they plan to seek work abroad. They had no plans to return to Ireland, and they said the same was true of their Irish student friends and Irish educators said they had heard that from students. What is the role of Irish higher education in retaining these students in the country, and is there anything that can be done to keep more of those graduating from leaving permanently from Ireland? island off the West Coast of Europe. There’s a natural wanderlust in Irish people to go and see the big world. The people who now go with the university qualification will be working in offices rather than working on their own, and they’ll do that. I’ve done it in my own time. It’s a natural part of the experience and you see it with Australia as well. However, two factors begin to kick in. They start working for multinational companies with the object of possibly finding themselves back in Ireland eventually. It’ll be of value to Ireland and a value to themselves no matter where they’re working. And, it is often the case, the minute their kids start speaking with an American accent, they start making plans to come home to Ireland.
QUINN: We’re a small island off another
InternatIonal educator M AY + J U N E . 12
ensuring the quality of higher education research, which they’ve done to an extent, but in particular also the cost of instruction? If so, how should their role be expanded in your opinion?
QUINN: I think that’s something that we’ll
be discussing at the Council of European Education Ministers. Ireland is to take the presidency next year in the first semester and it’s something that I will certainly be talking about as well as the whole question of European ratings of universities. IE
IE: The cover feature article in this is-
sue of International Educator is taking
DaVID TObENkIN is a freelance reporter based in chevy chase, maryland.