Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ECF - Letter to the Editor

Here is the text of a letter I sent to Madame l'Editoir yesterday. James McInerney from NUI Maynooth has an excellent letter on the subject published today.


The third-level sector, unlike primary and secondary education, competes on a global stage. We need high quality teaching and research to attract the best students and staff from around the world. It is therefore with some dismay that I read about the extended Employment Control Framework that was introduced in the dying hours of the Fianna Fail government (Sean Flynn 15/3/11).

This framework plans to ban all promotions and make all employment subject to temporary or fixed-term contracts even in cases where the funding is not from the exchequer. These other funding sources include industrial contracts, EU partnerships and fees from overseas students. We will lose existing staff to foreign universities where promotion and academic freedom are allowed and encouraged. Who in their right mind would take up a post in an Irish university under these conditions? The knock on effect is that we will also lose our best students to foreign universities and they will not be here to contribute to Ireland's economic recovery.

If we truly values our education system and the benefits that derive from it, then the newly elected government would do well to rescind the ECF in its current form and work with the universities rather than impose draconian measures that do not address the core issues that face the sector.

Yours, etc,

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