Former RCSI head questions ethics of universities’ ties

Irish post-school institutions are “intimately engaged with regimes that have human rights questions to answer”, the former head of the Bahrain campus of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has said, writes Joe Humphreys for The Irish Times.

Addressing a conference on ethics in education, Professor Tom Collins said that while the RCSI has been the focus of much public scrutiny, other universities had questions to answer about their relationship with non-democratic countries. He noted that in 2009 China and Malaysia, two countries that were criticised in various Amnesty International reports, provided 31% of non-European Union students to Irish institutions. This was worth €61 million (US$81 million) to the sector.

A drift towards commercialisation in post-secondary education was putting academic freedom at risk, he added. “It can be difficult to reconcile being a critic with being an enterprise. It’s difficult to envisage a Chelsea footballer wondering about Roman Abramovich’s human rights record.” Collins, who resigned his post in Bahrain earlier this year over the cancellation of a conference on medical ethics, reiterated his support for the RCSI to remain in the country.
Full report on the Irish Times site