Alternatives to higher education needed

Alternatives to higher education must be developed for school leavers, to alleviate the financial pressure on universities and institutes of technology, the chair of a third-level expert group has said, writes Joe Humphreys for The Irish Times.

Peter Cassells told an Oireachtas committee the demand for higher education was set to grow by 30% in the next decade. From both a funding view and a “view of what’s right”, other options should be available to school leavers in areas such as further education and apprenticeships, he said. “We have not been asked to look at apprenticeships but in looking at funding requirements we need to be able to comment on that.”

Cassells said the options for school leavers “should be beyond traditional apprenticeships”, citing the example of Denmark where industrial degrees were offered alongside academic degrees. He was addressing the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection recently on the work of the expert group to date. The body, set up by former minister Ruairi Quinn, is due to report by the end of the year on how best to fund an under-strain higher education system in the future.
Full report on The Irish Times site