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Higher Education as a Public Good

Launch of NERI Discussion Paper on Higher Education Policy and Ruairí Quinn Addresses USI Congess 2014

Download the NERI Paper here.

The second day of USI (Union of Students in Ireland) Congress 2014 began today (April 1st) with USI motions and policy voting. The motions passed today are a combination of Motions for the coming year, Constitutional Amendments, Accounts and Finance, the Union Organisation, Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance, Welfare, Citizenship, National Affairs, International Affairs, Equality and Gaeilge/Irish Language. 

At 2.30pm USI President Joe O’Connor alongside Tom Healy, Director of the Nevin Institute for Economic Research Institute (NERI) launched USI’s new policy on third-level funding, developed by NERI to provoke discussion on options for funding Higher Education in Ireland, and make the case for Higher Education as a Public Good. The paper calls for tax on high earners to fund third level courses and puts forward scope for a social insurance fund.

The report will be launched and debated by a panel of experts invited by USI.

Immediately following the debate on the NERI Discussion Paper, USI Congress will be addressed by Mr Ruairí Quinn, TD, Minister for Education and Skills. Minister Quinn has not recently addressed USI members on education, but has accepted the invitation to speak on a wide range of topics on Higher Education. A question and answer session for Congress delegates will be facilitated immediately following the Minister’s speech.

USI President Joe O’Connor said:

“The research results of the NERI paper reflect the very simple fact that higher education is a public good and there are other options besides making it a private commodity. Looking to the student loan repayment crisis in the UK shows that investment in higher education is the way forward. USI has worked with Tom Healy (Director of NERI) extensively on this project, it sets out a roadmap in line with increased investment in higher education and economic recovery towards a fully free public model.

To have Minister Quinn address USI Congress for the first time as the Minster for Education shows the progress that we have made in the Higher Education dialogue with governing bodies. Debating, engaging and working together for the future of Higher Education is the way out of the economic recession”.

A photo and media opportunity will take place with the Minister and the President of USI after this, and members of the media are invited to attend the session.

Download the NERI Paper here.