Think tank: Payback time for graduates

Ireland“Ronald Reagan, the former American president, preferred not to let his country’s worsening finances get in the way of his afternoon nap. ‘I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself,’ he said. But such inertia is not an option for Batt O’Keeffe, the minister for education, as he prepares to give his cabinet colleagues his discussion paper on third-level fees. Even at the time, the abolition of fees by the Rainbow coalition in 1995 seemed indefensible. Proponents of the decision suggested it would promote equality of access to third-level education but this was illusory. Those who could not afford the charges were exempt from them and received local authority maintenance grants. The abolition of fees, therefore, could never be of the slightest assistance to the neediest sections of our society …” (more)

[James McDermott, Sunday Times, 17 May]

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