The past year has been marked by economic growth, falling unemployment and continued job creation. However, it is clear to the UCDSU Executive Team that the benefit from these improvements is not felt by most students in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Considering the continued decline of Irish universities, including UCD, in world rankings, Government must learn the lessons from the economic and social damage that has been caused by the historic cycle of boom and bust and ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated.
Current deficits in public services and infrastructure, including accommodation, higher education funding and mental health facilities do not provide a healthy environment for the growing cohort of students to study, live and thrive in. Well-funded and easily accessible third-level education is the foundation of job creation, social mobility, and a thriving modern economy. Meaningful and targeted investment in higher education is necessary if we as nation are to meet the key objectives laid out by Government, such as having a highly skilled workforce which will subsequently attract foreign direct investment, or to be a country which is world-renowned for research and innovation, a vital necessity in an increasingly globalized world.
UCDSU believes that educational professionals in HEIs should be praised for their efforts to deliver a quality education during a sustained period of under-investment and uncertainty. However, what is necessary as a response to crisis is not sustainable as a long-term model. Government must match praise of economic recovery with strategic investment in this essential public service. Equal investment and consideration must also be given to services which are directly associated with providing students a positive environment which is conducive to academic excellence and well-being. Continue reading...
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