This is a longer version of an op-ed published in the Irish Times 10-3-20Continue reading
The Irish government, via Minister Bruton, is to “clamp down” on essay mills. That trying, in effect, to outlaw d’internet is doomed to failure is indicative of how little sensible focus is exerted on real challenges facing the higher education sector. Here are ten things that are more deserving than essay mills of ministerial press releases, actions, legislation, appearances on morning radio. There are at least a dozen more but this is a start.
Last week the government launched a plan. An education plan. Like all plans, it should be taken with enough salt to preserve a whale, but plans are needed if only to know what we should be doing. But plans should be coherent. A close examination of the plan suggests some worrying trends. We are creating an eduprenairship – full of ministerial hot air, conflating ideals that should not be conflated, slow to move, outdated, a hybrid nobody asked for which is hard to control and direct and prone to crashing. But it looks good and has a lovely dining trough, sorry car.
So, the Social Democrats have launched their “not a manifesto“, making them second to Renua in the early stages of the 2016 General Election. As I reviewed the Renua offering on education, so as not to be accused of partisanship, I will, time permitting, do them all. So what do the SD’s promise on education Continue reading
There has been a disturbance in the force? Do you feel it? The opening words of the trailer for the much awaited new Star wars movie might as well describe how the ground seems to be shifting on higher education funding. We seem to be moving towards a student loan model, although there is zero chance of anything remotely as contentious as that being announced this side of an imminent general election.
So, I am, along with some colleagues, interested in taking on some postdoc fellows under the Marie Curie programme.
One would be on a project on the the global determinants of metal and other critical mineral production. The main thrust is to examine the relationship between mineral production costs and mineral prices, investigating which leads which and in what regard.
The second is to address the matter of higher education institutions within the framework of local regional development objectives of maximizing employment, output and FDI investment potential as part of a suite of supply-side policies. The aim is for the candidate to work towards an analysis of the local Irish context and subsequently aim to make a series of comparisons with other similar regions of the European Union.
Candidates should have a phd in economics, with ag/resource economics a boon for the first and economic geography/regional studies for the second.
If you are possibly interested, let me know by email, with a compresensive CV, letter of interest, and a sample of recent research.
The Fellows of TCD have organised a symposium on the topic of how aligned or otherwise universities are to enlightenment ideals. Also of relevance is how recent and proposed changes in governance and the regulatory environment may hamper or aid this alignment. The symposium is free but registration is required. It takes place this coming Thursday, 1930-2200h. More details below..
With the leaving cert results out and students awaiting CAO offers, we might wish to consider again some of the problems of the second level system, and in particular how basic economic principles can aid us towards a solution. Too much discussion on reform revolves into micro discussion of whether we should have compulsory Irish or replace it with compulsory C++ training. We display educational opsablepsia with regards to our own educational system and need to face its problems.
History and business are rarely taught or even studied together. That’s a pity. Economic history, as subject, has disappeared down the memory hole. What is more worrying perhaps is that the methods of historical analysis, careful source text reinterpretations, critical data analysis and a cool analysis, are not often applied to business. Enter Jill Lepore, a Harvard historian, to remind us why this ahistorical business analysis is a weak approach Continue reading
Ireland, or at least the government, is in the grip of a frenzy around entrepreneurship. From local government, through the higher education system, to the highest in the land, hardly a day goes by without some new band jumping on the wagon. We are being flogged with the mantra that we must start up, become entrepreneurs, be self-employed, yadda yadda yadda. It’s a diversion of resources, built around a self-perpetuating meme. The SME sector is really important, in Ireland and in Europe. In Europe, as of 2012, SMEs accounted for over 99% of all companies, employing just under 90m people. They account for 66% of total employment and for about 58% of total output. However, when we think of SME’s in Ireland we think of small and medium-sized companies. The SME definition is companies with less than 250 employees, €50m in total turnover. This is by Irish standards a fairly substantial enterprise. In Ireland, SME account for 68% of total employment. Thus, it makes sense, to some extent, to ensure that SMEs as a sector are in rude health. What it may not make sense to do is to pour more and more scarce resources into creating startups and micro enterprises, in pursuit of a problem that doesn’t exist.