Third Level spend and numbers in Ireland... NOT pretty

So this is taken from a CSO datasheet Measuring Ireland’s Progress. Click the photo for the link

The graph shows the real per student spend and the number of third level students, rebased at 2003=100 for both.

Show this to the next gobdaw that jibbers and yaps about the knowledge economy.

6 thoughts on “Third Level spend and numbers in Ireland… NOT pretty

  1. Pingback: Ninth Level Ireland » Blog Archive » Third Level spend and numbers in Ireland … NOT pretty

  2. Greg Foley

    Brian, I showed this data in a recent blog ( but there I also gave data for first and primary levels. Those sectors have been somewhat protected (in least in total spending terms – during the recession and this poses an interesting and important question: given that education spending cannot realistically keep rising to keep apace with participation rates at all levels (especially at third level where there has been a 24% increase in numbers since 2003!), how do you proportion the education budget to best serve the needs of the society and the economy? There is a genuine argument to be made – and others more expert than I have made them – that a country is best served by ensuring that all citizens have a good standard of education – to what precise level, no one is quite sure. But to imply that pumping money into third level automatically translates into a better functioning economy, knowledge economy or otherwise, is simplistic. (We’re into corrrelation and causation territory here.) There is an argument too that there is too much focus on third level as a driver of the economy. I have suggested, for example, that we need to stop channeling all education – especially education in IT – through the third level colleges because to do so is unsustainable and in the case of IT simply not working. We need a much more flexible approach to education and not one that simply ‘drafts’ more and more bodies through the third level system. In short, we need ideas because at the moment we are trying to square the circle. We know the politicians are bullshitting when they talk about the ‘knowledge economy’ but we expect that from them. But what would you do, for example? How would you construct an education system that best supports the economy and the society given the current financial constraints and the social and cultural pressures to keep increasing third level participation rates?

  3. Eugene Mitchell (@mitchelleire)

    I agree this is bad, but the figures are somewhat mixed, Ireland has massively increased the number of international students coming here over the past few years, These students might be paying for 3rd level in their own country and only be here for a year or so increasing our student numbers, speaking from the University of Limerick, we have increased our international student population by 20% in just 4 years!

  4. Ernie Ball

    Who cares about “knowledge economies”? Knowledge is more important than money. The scandal is that this is bad for knowledge, thinking and education. The ultimate justification for everything is not economic.


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