Thursday, January 21, 2010
Goodbye To The National University
That being the case, the National University of Ireland will have to go.
The body was founded a century ago to oversee doctoral degree programs at Ireland's universities. It was, in essence, a bureaucracy that tended to its little niche in higher education, approving courses of study at University College Dublin or Maynooth or Galway, while lower education ran along its own track.
At a potential savings of a couple of million euros, it's been determined that the individual universities can oversee their own Ph.D.s, using existing office space and staff. They can pay the bills from their own coffers, hire and fire, and all the rest.
The fifteen people who were employed by NUI will thus be made redundant.
Naturally, those fifteen people are lobbying to hang on to their jobs, with the Chancellor leading the call. In Dr. Maurice Manning's eyes, to dismantle his bureaucracy would be to dismantle a national brand. Higher education in Ireland would fall to pieces without NUI to manage things.
For the past hundred years, the universities haven't been involved, so they'll be starting from scratch, and won't that be a disaster in the making?
Not if you ask the presidents of University College Dublin or Trinity College. They see NUI as a drag on their own efforts to create a highly marketable brand, and they'd be happy to see the back of Dr. Manning as he walks out the door.
Dr. Manning is wishing that the final decision will be delayed until there is a change in government, in the hope that Fine Gael will win the next election and spare NUI. Unfortunately, it makes no difference who is in government. There is no money.
Two university presidents are in favor of a cost-cutting deal that will save some taxpayer cash when it is all about trimming anything resembling fat. They believe they can get to where Dr. Manning would like the nation`s universities to be, but without Dr. Manning and his fiefdom. Hard to argue with money when it speaks with a loud voice.