There has been an alarming fall in global rankings of Irish universities, a measure of our international reputation. From having 2 universities in the top 100, Ireland now has none in contrast to similar sized countries in Europe. Despite the ambition of having the best education system in the EU by 2026, there has been a decade of under-investment. The public is now seeing the impact of the funding cuts over the years – our universities are losing out to our competitors in nearby countries. That means our students are losing out, as is the country as fewer international students will come and industry will invest elsewhere. This is all happening despite our universities growing student numbers by a third.
Responding to the QS World University Rankings 2019, Jim Miley, Director General of the Irish Universities Association said:
“Irish universities are the engines of creativity and the producers of Ireland’s future top talent. The fall in rankings is a warning light to government that the quality talent pipeline will be jeopardised unless the funding deficit is addressed. It’s time to stop delaying a decision on a proper funding model for Irish third-level education. The government know what needs to be done and should now bite the bullet.”
There are serious concerns that a continued failure to address the third-level funding crisis will directly damage the Irish economy in future years. In its December 2017 report, the National Competitiveness Council which advises the Taoiseach and his government stated bluntly that: “It is time to stop long-fingering a decision to close the funding gap in the higher education sector which poses a significant threat to our competitiveness rankings and FDI.”
The latest QS rankings clearly highlight the dangers of continued inaction on our economic competitiveness.
Media Coverage of this statement: