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Funding Cancelled For Two New WIT Buildings

  • 10-11-2011 7:18pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,124 7upfree
    Registered User


    Rumour tonight is that the extension to the business school and the new science and engineering building have been canned by Enda & Eamonn.

    Waterford shafted again.

    Some things never, ever change.:mad:


«13

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 218 ✭✭ letsbet
    Registered User


    Where did you hear that? If it's true it's a huge shock. I was involved only last week picking out some of the hardware for one of the rooms in the new business school. The project has been in the pipeline for a good few years and thousands of decisions on every little bit of specification are in the process of being made. This will be a huge kick in the balls for the college and yet another slap in the face from the government who (from one side in particular) seem to have a keen interest in holding WIT back.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,069 sunnysoutheast
    Registered User


    From the report linked on RTE:

    "In relation to the higher education sector, projects with existing contractual commitments in place will be completed. These include the UCD Science Centre, the University of Limerick Medical School, NUI Maynooth’s library project and the new Campus Development at St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. Projects where contractual commitments have not yet been entered into will not be advanced and the higher education PPP bundles will not
    proceed.
    "

    So, if contracts haven't been signed.....

    SSE


  • Registered Users Posts: 218 ✭✭ letsbet
    Registered User


    FFS! Ah sure, I suppose it's better giving the money to bondholders than investing in education. They pay billions to bondholders, stand idly by while bankers pay themselves millions in bonuses for failing and do SFA about workers like those in Waterford Crystal who worked for decades and got no pension. How there isn't anarchy in this country is beyond me.


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 24,039 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sully
    Moderator


    I was of the understanding the contracts were signed? Anyway, WIT has had a fair amount of building work over the past few years and as you can see, an awful lot of projects were put on hold around the country including new campuses so its hardly being shafted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 957 comeraghs
    Registered User


    can anyone say if it has or hasn't been cxl'd?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,459 ✭✭✭ Ledger
    Registered User


    If it is true I can't say I'm surprised at all. The way they are looking at it, WIT are not struggling without these additions, and like Sully said, the college has not been totally ignored in the past 5 to 10 years. So if we have to wait for another few years, there's not much we can do about it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 218 ✭✭ letsbet
    Registered User


    Sully wrote: »
    I was of the understanding the contracts were signed? Anyway, WIT has had a fair amount of building work over the past few years and as you can see, an awful lot of projects were put on hold around the country including new campuses so its hardly being shafted.

    No, they were still at the tendor stage. We have done well in terms of buildings but we were starting from a low base and are trying to compete with the universities more than the other ITs to a large degree. Another nail in the coffin of trying to improve the college though all the same. Some of the ideas and plans for the new business building were very impressive and would have been linked to huge job creation in the area so it's very unfortunate. It's symbolic of the government's attitude to any upgrading of WIT.


  • Registered Users Posts: 957 comeraghs
    Registered User


    considering the comments made by Labour & FG about wanting to help Waterford & the South-East especially considering we have suffered more than other areas with the crisis, what chance that funding could be found to advance these projects?

    I'm sending a few e-mails ... lets hope for some good news!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 547 HugoBradyBrown
    Banned


    letsbet wrote: »
    No, they were still at the tendor stage. We have done well in terms of buildings but we were starting from a low base and are trying to compete with the universities more than the other ITs to a large degree. Another nail in the coffin of trying to improve the college though all the same. Some of the ideas and plans for the new business building were very impressive and would have been linked to huge job creation in the area so it's very unfortunate. It's symbolic of the government's attitude to any upgrading of WIT.

    Is there any logical basis for this urge to rename WIT as a 'university'? Does it not already award its own degrees? Can it not carry out its function as it is, and develop into an Irish version of MIT? I cannot imagine that MIT management would waste their energy trying to rename their world-renowned institution as a 'university' in name, when it is that and more in fact.

    On the other side, is there not a considerable negative weight attached to unknown 'universities' the world over? Is it not more prudent to differentiate an organisation from the myriad of other 'universities' that have mushroomed in every country? Among those 'in the know' is there not genuine distrust of new 'universities', as we have seen in the cases of the former Polytechnics in England?

    If WIT does not offer the full range of subjects found in a university, is there any great advantage in getting 'university status', if it then has to be qualified with 'technological' or 'business' or 'technical'. The Germans, with their Hochschulen, at least have some logic on their side, and they accord identical prestige (or even more) to their Hochschulen than they do to the universities. Consider also the French: would a French student or employer value more a qualification from one of the very many mediocre French universities, or from one of the grandes écoles?

    I would argue that Waterford should try to cast off small-town chauvinism and engage with this matter with a clear-sighted view of the real issues. A sui generis WIT, with academic standards at the highest level, will do far more good than a place that gets the empty label of 'university' and that thus merely panders to local pride.



    Hugo Brady Brown M.A. (Cantab)


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 24,039 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sully
    Moderator


    letsbet wrote: »
    It's symbolic of the government's attitude to any upgrading of WIT.

    Not really. The government has made a significant amount of pauses on projects today. We don't have the money. Everybody has to take a cut, and WIT isn't the only college to get a bit of a knock. This has been the writing on the wall since the recession kicked in - cut backs and savings would be made and many projects would be put on hold.

    WIT and DIT are probably the most modern of the ITs, and WIT has received a fair amount of funding over the years so hasn't been totally ignored and has benefited a lot.

    Shafted is a very unfair statement.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 218 ✭✭ letsbet
    Registered User


    Is there any logical basis for this urge to rename WIT as a 'university'?

    I largely agree with your views actually and have stated so in many previous posts. I was more talking about the government's commitment to a university (which I've always said is complete BS).


  • Registered Users Posts: 218 ✭✭ letsbet
    Registered User


    Sully wrote: »
    Not really.

    Sully you really need to get real when it comes to this govt and their (false) commitment to upgrading WIT to a university. Whenever it becomes apparent that they have no real intention to do anything that comes close to their previous commitments you come up with some rubbish excuse for them. Enda Kenny lied in his promise in relation to this in the same way that RQ lied about fees. It's nice to see someone with optimism in this day and age but your blind faith in FG's promises is sadly misplaced and don't come out with any rubbish about them not knowing what state the public coffers were in when they made these promises as they had a fair idea and were never going to prioritise us in the same way as their promises of action on job creation in the SE are a load of ****. They will keep a certain number of people hopeful that some huge jobs initiative will be announced and WIT will be upgraded in a meaningful way. It won't.


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 24,039 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sully
    Moderator


    letsbet wrote: »
    Sully you really need to get real when it comes to this govt and their (false) commitment to upgrading WIT to a university. Whenever it becomes apparent that they have no real intention to do anything that comes close to their previous commitments you come up with some rubbish excuse for them. Enda Kenny lied in his promise in relation to this in the same way that RQ lied about fees. It's nice to see someone with optimism in this day and age but your blind faith in FG's promises is sadly misplaced and don't come out with any rubbish about them not knowing what state the public coffers were in when they made these promises as they had a fair idea and were never going to prioritise us in the same way as their promises of action on job creation in the SE are a load of ****. They will keep a certain number of people hopeful that some huge jobs initiative will be announced and WIT will be upgraded in a meaningful way. It won't.

    Its not false until the government says we wont be getting a University. Its in the programme for government, commitments have been made to fast tract the setting up of the Technical University. Our TDs have been vocal on it, and are pushing in the background. Not just the government TDs. So forgive me for not being pessimistic.

    As for Ruari Quinn - I called that during the election campaign as did many others. The USI removed most of our comments. Students went out and voted for Labour. A lot of people knew it was a false promise, but many were fooled by the USI propaganda machine which pushed for a Labour vote and now lost out. The USI have not offered any solutions or plans to help address the financing problem of our education system and avoid these cuts and rises. The same had happened in the UK already.

    As for Fine Gael, iv came out and criticised them before, during and after the election. Its not a blind faith, I can assure you that. But in this instance, the cuts this topic is talking about would have happened under any government, left, right or center. WIT has not been neglected, and wont going forward.

    Those election promises - I said numerous times I didn't agree with the party making such suggestions. They costed their ideas based on the limited accounts supplied by the last government, and came out with a few proposals thinking that the situation wasn't much worse. They got it wrong on both counts - promising it and thinking things wouldn't get much worse when they entered government.

    It was foolish and stupid but the cuts and savings need to be made, regardless. Its going to impact someone, and Fine Gael have said time and time again over and over that there will be pain ahead, there will be cuts and it wont be easy. It wasn't sugar coated.


  • Registered Users Posts: 218 ✭✭ letsbet
    Registered User


    That's fair enough. However, a technical university is barely worthy of the name change and is not what was promised by them and there are lots of things promised in the programme for government that haven't been delivered and never will be. It's true that we can't say that something won't be implemented until they say it won't be but we can make a fairly good guess after a certain time has elapsed and the noises coming out are not positive. Again RQ basically said 'over my dead body' in realtion to the (full) WIT upgrade. I'm not saying that this govt are any worse or better than the last one but they've been elected on a lot of false promises and people like you mentionned in relation to the USI were fooled into believing that this lot would be any better than the previous crowd. They're no different imo (and would have been no different if they were in power instead of FF a few years ago too). The illusion of change is quite a painful one to experience as most of them are alike. I know that's a negative attitude but it's the one I've experienced and come to accept against my better wishes. The political classes in this country simply aren't sufficiently intelligent or strong to cope with their responsibilities.


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 24,039 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sully
    Moderator


    We really don't know yet what a Technical University actually is. For that reason, I am holding back my anger. I do feel a bit mislead in terms of the promises in relation to University but there are arguments that suggest it would be a good thing for us.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 547 HugoBradyBrown
    Banned


    Sully wrote: »
    We really don't know yet what a Technical University actually is. For that reason, I am holding back my anger. I do feel a bit mislead in terms of the promises in relation to University but there are arguments that suggest it would be a good thing for us.

    I believe that NIHE Dublin made a mistake in not jumping at the chance to put 'Technological' in its name. Now it's being undercut on that very front by the three research universities, TCD, UCC & UCD.


    Hugo Brady Brown


  • Registered Users Posts: 218 ✭✭ letsbet
    Registered User


    Well I accept that. A technical university is a bit of an unknown quantity but I'd be fairly confident (or fearful) that it will have no real effect (or at least nowhere near the effect that people may hope for). On another point we (WIT) have received a lot of govt help over the last decade (from the other party of course under different economic conditions) but we also worked very hard for that and deserve to have a prominent role in the Irish third-level system, which these new projects would have cemented. Overall, I don't see that this govt put much store in Waterford and WIT. I'm not one of these people who say "we never get anything in Waterford" but looking at it from a re-election point of view (which is what most political parties really care about), Waterford is not a key area for them as it is such a small area in terms of seats and there is virtually zero FF presence now so they don't have to pay much attention to us. Unfortunately, Waterford is going to be left behind in the next few years even more than before. A lot of work was put into this new building and it would have had a huge impact on the local economy and our ability to attract certain jobs. It's heart-breaking to see it cancelled. A lack of investment in education is the best way to guarantee the lost decade that people are currently forecasting.


  • Registered Users Posts: 424 ✭✭ Yes Boss
    Registered User


    Both new buildings were meant to be procured using PPP. Now as far as i know this means that the Private Sector pay for the construction and maintenance of the buildings and lease them back to the state for a set period of time. Therefore, there is NO initial capital outlay by the state. Why then would the Government be stopping these projects???


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,069 sunnysoutheast
    Registered User


    letsbet wrote: »
    Well I accept that. A technical university is a bit of an unknown quantity but I'd be fairly confident (or fearful) that it will have no real effect (or at least nowhere near the effect that people may hope for). On another point we (WIT) have received a lot of govt help over the last decade (from the other party of course under different economic conditions) but we also worked very hard for that and deserve to have a prominent role in the Irish third-level system, which these new projects would have cemented. Overall, I don't see that this govt put much store in Waterford and WIT. I'm not one of these people who say "we never get anything in Waterford" but looking at it from a re-election point of view (which is what most political parties really care about), Waterford is not a key area for them as it is such a small area in terms of seats and there is virtually zero FF presence now so they don't have to pay much attention to us. Unfortunately, Waterford is going to be left behind in the next few years even more than before. A lot of work was put into this new building and it would have had a huge impact on the local economy and our ability to attract certain jobs. It's heart-breaking to see it cancelled. A lack of investment in education is the best way to guarantee the lost decade that people are currently forecasting.

    It's a blow alright but is it necessarily the end of the business school? Science and Engineering I'd agree need dedicated facilities but there is no shortage of empty office space around to set up a business school on a temporary basis until funding can be obtained.

    SSE


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,069 sunnysoutheast
    Registered User


    Yes Boss wrote: »
    Both new buildings were meant to be procured using PPP. Now as far as i know this means that the Private Sector pay for the construction and maintenance of the buildings and lease them back to the state for a set period of time. Therefore, there is NO initial capital outlay by the state. Why then would the Government be stopping these projects???

    I think the problem is that banks won't lend (or apply high rates) to the PPP companies as they have no confidence in the State being able to service the long-term contracts. All these finance charges are reflected in the lease costs so the projects become unviable.

    SSE


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  • Registered Users Posts: 218 ✭✭ letsbet
    Registered User


    It's a blow alright but is it necessarily the end of the business school? Science and Engineering I'd agree need dedicated facilities but there is no shortage of empty office space around to set up a business school on a temporary basis until funding can be obtained.

    SSE

    It's far from the end for the schools alright but it does hold us (them) back from the planned progress over the next few years and it puts a spanner in the works of a hell of a lot of planning and effort. It's another example of a false economy imo.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,069 sunnysoutheast
    Registered User


    letsbet wrote: »
    It's far from the end for the schools alright but it does hold us (them) back from the planned progress over the next few years and it puts a spanner in the works of a hell of a lot of planning and effort. It's another example of a false economy imo.

    Couldn't agree more, craven cowardice from the government chopping infrastructure projects, particularly in education and healthcare, which could have delivered benefits for years rather than tackling the difficult issues.

    A case in point, funding a new children's hospital is now dependent on a lottery windfall, it's humiliating!

    SSE


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,272 merlante
    Registered User


    I'm sure posters not familiar with the near endless discussion on here about a university in Waterford/South East probably think they are making unique and profound points, but that is extremely unlikely by this point. I think it would be best just to post a link to the previous main thread (if anyone would bother to read it).

    This thread spans 3 years, for example:
    Waterford University discussion

    @HugoBradyBrown
    Suffice it to say, it has nothing to do with a name change. It is a full upgrade of operational scope with commensurate funding. You might want to spend more time investigating the pertinent facts of the matter before getting caught up reductionist metaphors like "small-town chauvinism", etc.

    Universities and IoTs are enshrined in Irish law, and therefore are not comparable to institutions in the US, which, in the case of MIT and other prominent institutions, have full freedom in the range of courses they can offer, and effectively have no ceiling placed on their progression. In Ireland, the situation is obviously different, where what we term the 'university sector' is the privileged top tier of 3rd level education, whereas the 'institute of technology sector' is considered to play a supporting or merely regional role. Hard to progress given a restrictive status and remit.

    Hochschulen in Germany frequently translate their names into English as Universities of technology. This is not considered a transgression in Germany because there is no sensitivity about calling an institution a university in that country. In Ireland, of course, the situation is different. WIT calling itself a university is not a matter of self-reinterpretation -- it is legally and categorically incorrect to do so. It is an IoT with an Irish IoT's remit, as defined in law and in numerous policy documents referring to the sector. In the French example, the Engineering schools -- similar to IoTs in the range of subjects -- are far more highly regarded than the general universities in engineering. This situation has been allowed to develop there, where institutions with different missions are allowed to stand side by side at the same level. It does not apply in Ireland where IoTs far from monopolise and push ahead in engineering and technical areas. They are considered to be, and are largely reinforced as, a second tier level of higher education, even in their core areas of focus.

    Let's call a spade a spade: they were invented to provide practical industrial training to regional Ireland, and they continue to held in that regard in many quarters, despite the strides made since then by the one or two of those institutions currently seeking an upgrade.

    Achieving university status is not about changing a name, it's about changing the institution and moving it to the forefront of higher education in Ireland. Anything less holds back the institution in terms of where it can go and the surrounding region in terms of bringing through, retaining and attracting highly qualified graduates as well as developing a competitive basis for an industrial cluster in the south east region.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 547 HugoBradyBrown
    Banned


    merlante wrote: »
    I'm sure posters not familiar with the near endless discussion on here about a university in Waterford/South East probably think they are making unique and profound points, but that is extremely unlikely by this point. I think it would be best just to post a link to the previous main thread (if anyone would bother to read it).
     
    This thread spans 3 years, for example:
    Waterford University discussion
     
    @HugoBradyBrown
    Suffice it to say, it has nothing to do with a name change. It is a full upgrade of operational scope with commensurate funding. You might want to spend more time investigating the pertinent facts of the matter before getting caught up reductionist metaphors like "small-town chauvinism", etc.
     
    Universities and IoTs are enshrined in Irish law, and therefore are not comparable to institutions in the US, which, in the case of MIT and other prominent institutions, have full freedom in the range of courses they can offer, and effectively have no ceiling placed on their progression. In Ireland, the situation is obviously different, where what we term the 'university sector' is the privileged top tier of 3rd level education, whereas the 'institute of technology sector' is considered to play a supporting or merely regional role. Hard to progress given a restrictive status and remit.
     
    Hochschulen in Germany frequently translate their names into English as Universities of technology. This is not considered a transgression in Germany because there is no sensitivity about calling an institution a university in that country. In Ireland, of course, the situation is different. WIT calling itself a university is not a matter of self-reinterpretation -- it is legally and categorically incorrect to do so. It is an IoT with an Irish IoT's remit, as defined in law and in numerous policy documents referring to the sector. In the French example, the Engineering schools -- similar to IoTs in the range of subjects -- are far more highly regarded than the general universities in engineering. This situation has been allowed to develop there, where institutions with different missions are allowed to stand side by side at the same level. It does not apply in Ireland where IoTs far from monopolise and push ahead in engineering and technical areas. They are considered to be, and are largely reinforced as, a second tier level of higher education, even in their core areas of focus.
     
    Let's call a spade a spade: they were invented to provide practical industrial training to regional Ireland, and they continue to held in that regard in many quarters, despite the strides made since then by the one or two of those institutions currently seeking an upgrade.
     
    Achieving university status is not about changing a name, it's about changing the institution and moving it to the forefront of higher education in Ireland. Anything less holds back the institution in terms of where it can go and the surrounding region in terms of bringing through, retaining and attracting highly qualified graduates as well as developing a competitive basis for an industrial cluster in the south east region.
     
    The Japanese model of the 'octopus university' may be the only viable solution.
     
    It strikes me that the most pragmatic compromise would be for, say CIT and WIT to be raised to the level of colleges of a quasi-federal university with a leading core institution, most practically UCC. In that sense, UCC might become the University of Munster, with the existing UCC as the main core and with CIT & WIT as either one joint or two separate 'University Colleges'. I know that this model proved very sensible in Scotland, in the case of Dundee, and in England in such cases as Nottingham, for example.
     
    The putative UofM might be the degree-awarding body, and the two other subsidiary institutions might act as feeders from undergraduate courses into postgraduate and research work in the research node. This would give the educational stepping-stone to young students in the South-East, while not diverting scarce resources from the cities.
     
    Waterford University College could then raise private sector funding for some appropriate applied research projects, to be undertaken in conjunction with the main campus. This would achieve the benefit of more closely focussed and integrated university governance, while avoiding the unnecessary replication of full university structures in the country's smaller centres of population. It is a model that would probably also commend itself to the cases of Sligo and Tralee also.
     
    The other viable model, of course, would be to integrate all the Institutes of Technology into one all-Ireland technological univeristy, centred on the DIT, with the existing institutes being given status and title rewards for enhancing their standing, programmes and productivity. This too might allow for the hiving off of unproductive units, and for the elimination of duplication. Again, there would be scope for fundraising to allow a research node to be created in Dublin, into which the other colleges might feed. However, I fear that this plainly logical proposal will fall, in the face of local opposition to the national interest.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,272 merlante
    Registered User


     
    The Japanese model of the 'octopus university' may be the only viable solution.
     
    It strikes me that the most pragmatic compromise would be for, say CIT and WIT to be raised to the level of colleges of a quasi-federal university with a leading core institution, most practically UCC. In that sense, UCC might become the University of Munster, with the existing UCC as the main core and with CIT & WIT as either one joint or two separate 'University Colleges'. I know that this model proved very sensible in Scotland, in the case of Dundee, and in England in such cases as Nottingham, for example.
     
    The putative UofM might be the degree-awarding body, and the two other subsidiary institutions might act as feeders from undergraduate courses into postgraduate and research work in the research node.
    This would give the educational stepping-stone to young students in the South-East, while not diverting scarce resources from the cities.

    I think you'll find that scarce resources have been diverted from one city, Waterford, to the benefit of the other four. Although it is understandable that those with nothing at stake would presume to deny to one region what is granted to others, all in the good name of efficiencies, cost saving, economies of scale and so on, naturally, people in Waterford and the south east, who have to live here -- or who would like to in any case -- will keep in plugging away for equality.
     
    Waterford University College could then raise private sector funding for some appropriate applied research projects, to be undertaken in conjunction with the main campus. This would achieve the benefit of more closely focussed and integrated university governance, while avoiding the unnecessary replication of full university structures in the country's smaller centres of population. It is a model that would probably also commend itself to the cases of Sligo and Tralee also.
     
    The other viable model, of course, would be to integrate all the Institutes of Technology into one all-Ireland technological univeristy, centred on the DIT, with the existing institutes being given status and title rewards for enhancing their standing, programmes and productivity. This too might allow for the hiving off of unproductive units, and for the elimination of duplication. Again, there would be scope for fundraising to allow a research node to be created in Dublin, into which the other colleges might feed. However, I fear that this plainly logical proposal will fall, in the face of local opposition to the national interest.

    The are as many viable models as there are stars in the sky, and numerous demographically similar countries we can take inspiration from: Scotland, Wales, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, and so on, some of whom have more autonomous universities than we have in Ireland per capita.

    The south east would not be well served by an institution headquartered in Cork. Suffice it to say that regional equality would not occur in what would inevitably amount to the hegemony of one region over another in third level education and ultimately employment prospects.

    What is required in the south east in an equal 'node' of the higher education system to that available in Galway, Limerick and Cork. Any rationalisation thereafter should happen on a more or less equal basis. NUIG, NUIM and obviously UL and DCU are largely recent creations in their modern incarnations anyway, and there are no convincing grounds for preventing WIT from progressing in the same direction, for as long as the university sector remains structurally similar to what it is now.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 547 HugoBradyBrown
    Banned


    merlante wrote: »
    I think you'll find that scarce resources have been diverted from one city, Waterford, to the benefit of the other four. Although it is understandable that those with nothing at stake would presume to deny to one region what is granted to others, all in the good name of efficiencies, cost saving, economies of scale and so on, naturally, people in Waterford and the south east, who have to live here -- or who would like to in any case -- will keep in plugging away for equality.
     


    The are as many viable models as there are stars in the sky, and numerous demographically similar countries we can take inspiration from: Scotland, Wales, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, and so on, some of whom have more autonomous universities than we have in Ireland per capita.

    The south east would not be well served by an institution headquartered in Cork. Suffice it to say that regional equality would not occur in what would inevitably amount to the hegemony of one region over another in third level education and ultimately employment prospects.

    What is required in the south east in an equal 'node' of the higher education system to that available in Galway, Limerick and Cork. Any rationalisation thereafter should happen on a more or less equal basis. NUIG, NUIM and obviously UL and DCU are largely recent creations in their modern incarnations anyway, and there are no convincing grounds for preventing WIT from progressing in the same direction, for as long as the university sector remains structurally similar to what it is now.

    Gramscian analysis aside, the arguments advanced for a University of Waterford (which I personally would support in an ideal world with endless resources) seem to be grounded on a flawed foundation - on a buggins-turn, me-too, airport-here-there-and-everywhere basis. Waterford and Cork are, as it happens, practically dormitory towns of each other, with the excellent road that has been provided. It is not evident that they are in any meaningful sense in different 'regions', on this tiny island.

    I believe that a University in Waterford might be better argued for on scholarly than on a 'one for every county town in the country' basis. My own alma mater is in 'the sticks' out in fenland, yet, by dint of academic excellence and a vision for superlative scholarly work, it has thrived. Similarly Waterford could seek to differentiate itself from degree factories on the Limerick model, and hold out the prospect for a return to Newman's ideals, for a University where the classics, philosophy, humane letters and similar subjects in the top echelons of scholarship are the core of the institution, providing the heartbeat that animates the entire institution, and where the majority of students study these, the most important, most humane disciplines. To become a University would involve moving clearly away from the vocational focus, and abandoning the pragmatic aim of becoming a 'technical Hochschule' in Ireland. One thing or another, I would say, a 'technical university', or a 'full University', but emphatically not a university because everyone else has one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,800 ✭✭✭ Roanmore
    Registered User


    Yes Boss wrote: »
    Both new buildings were meant to be procured using PPP. Now as far as i know this means that the Private Sector pay for the construction and maintenance of the buildings and lease them back to the state for a set period of time. Therefore, there is NO initial capital outlay by the state. Why then would the Government be stopping these projects???

    As far as you know or do you know?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,272 merlante
    Registered User


    Gramscian analysis aside, the arguments advanced for a University of Waterford (which I personally would support in an ideal world with endless resources) seem to be grounded on a flawed foundation - on a buggins-turn, me-too, airport-here-there-and-everywhere basis. Waterford and Cork are, as it happens, practically dormitory towns of each other, with the excellent road that has been provided. It is not evident that they are in any meaningful sense in different 'regions', on this tiny island.

    A very convenient, broad strokes portrayal of our 'tiny' country. Indeed, with such a small country, can we even afford a capital at all? Perhaps Dublin's lot might be more in Cardiff's line in a re-united kingdom?

    In any case, we have divided this country up into regions of 300-500K. These correspond to the traditional hinterlands of the regional cities. They are recognised as NUTS3 regions at the European level. Worth bothering with from a statistical point of view, at least. The figures on educational attainment, unemployment, average earnings, and so on, are considerably lower in the south east region than in other regions. This is easy enough to verify. One of the reasons identified for this is the relative weakness of the regional capital, Waterford. Some kind of elevation and increased autonomy for WIT would have a major impact -- at relatively low cost. I don't think it's acceptable that tranches of a half million people in our admittedly small country should have to relocate in order to have the same life expectations as Dublin, East, West, Mid-West and South. It is not some kind of sin against nature for people to want equality of opportunity within their own country.
    I believe that a University in Waterford might be better argued for on scholarly than on a 'one for every county town in the country' basis. My own alma mater is in 'the sticks' out in fenland, yet, by dint of academic excellence and a vision for superlative scholarly work, it has thrived.

    Firstly, everyone's alma matter began its life as a field. Fields don't have any academic excellence. Academic excellence is the outcome of many years of funding, institutional development and, equally as importantly, a set of aims and objectives that enables rather than limits an institute's progression. A constant preoccupation with moving beyond a set of restrictions -- like for example not being able to award degrees -- does not bode well for an environment of high achievement. Of course, today, IoTs offering degrees is a given, and IoTs are in fact rated in terms of what percentage of students are on degree programmes and even masters and PhD programmes, and yet at each stage where progress might have been made seamlessly, instead political campaigns had to be mounted to overcome an interminable string of obstacles to progression. It is unlikely in the extreme that WIT would offer good value for money today if it had remained cosily within its original remit.

    Also, this 'one for every county town in the country' straw man is extremely irritating. There are only four regional cities with populous regions in the country, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. All that is being asked for is that the institution in one other centre/region, Waterford, be allowed to proceed to the same level as those in other centres/regions. There is no major clamour in other sub-regional locations for an IoT upgrade. CIT and DIT have aspirations of their own, but those, in my view, can be denied owing to the existing level of university provision in those areas (and the fact that they would be short IoTs after any such upgrade).
    Similarly Waterford could seek to differentiate itself from degree factories on the Limerick model, and hold out the prospect for a return to Newman's ideals, for a University where the classics, philosophy, humane letters and similar subjects in the top echelons of scholarship are the core of the institution, providing the heartbeat that animates the entire institution, and where the majority of students study these, the most important, most humane disciplines. To become a University would involve moving clearly away from the vocational focus, and abandoning the pragmatic aim of becoming a 'technical Hochschule' in Ireland. One thing or another, I would say, a 'technical university', or a 'full University', but emphatically not a university because everyone else has one.

    I am not going to disagree with any of that. The main issue, as far as I'm concerned, is getting WIT written out of the IoTs Act and into an Act of its own, granting it greater autonomy and a broader remit.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 547 HugoBradyBrown
    Banned


    merlante wrote: »
    A very convenient, broad strokes portrayal of our 'tiny' country. Indeed, with such a small country, can we even afford a capital at all? Perhaps Dublin's lot might be more in Cardiff's line in a re-united kingdom?

    In any case, we have divided this country up into regions of 300-500K. These correspond to the traditional hinterlands of the regional cities. They are recognised as NUTS3 regions at the European level. Worth bothering with from a statistical point of view, at least. The figures on educational attainment, unemployment, average earnings, and so on, are considerably lower in the south east region than in other regions. This is easy enough to verify. One of the reasons identified for this is the relative weakness of the regional capital, Waterford. Some kind of elevation and increased autonomy for WIT would have a major impact -- at relatively low cost. I don't think it's acceptable that tranches of a half million people in our admittedly small country should have to relocate in order to have the same life expectations as Dublin, East, West, Mid-West and South. It is not some kind of sin against nature for people to want equality of opportunity within their own country.



    Firstly, everyone's alma matter began its life as a field. Fields don't have any academic excellence. Academic excellence is the outcome of many years of funding, institutional development and, equally as importantly, a set of aims and objectives that enables rather than limits an institute's progression. A constant preoccupation with moving beyond a set of restrictions -- like for example not being able to award degrees -- does not bode well for an environment of high achievement. Of course, today, IoTs offering degrees is a given, and IoTs are in fact rated in terms of what percentage of students are on degree programmes and even masters and PhD programmes, and yet at each stage where progress might have been made seamlessly, instead political campaigns had to be mounted to overcome an interminable string of obstacles to progression. It is unlikely in the extreme that WIT would offer good value for money today if it had remained cosily within its original remit.

    Also, this 'one for every county town in the country' straw man is extremely irritating. There are only four regional cities with populous regions in the country, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. All that is being asked for is that the institution in one other centre/region, Waterford, be allowed to proceed to the same level as those in other centres/regions. There is no major clamour in other sub-regional locations for an IoT upgrade. CIT and DIT have aspirations of their own, but those, in my view, can be denied owing to the existing level of university provision in those areas (and the fact that they would be short IoTs after any such upgrade).



    I am not going to disagree with any of that. The main issue, as far as I'm concerned, is getting WIT written out of the IoTs Act and into an Act of its own, granting it greater autonomy and a broader remit.

    I take my hat off to merlante for this dissection of my arguments, and on most points I give you best.

    It's not a major aspect of the argument here, I know, but I have some intuitive doubts about the concept of regional capitals in Ireland today, in large part because of the development of the motorway network. I have a sense that Waterford, for example, exerts little or no geographical or gravitational attraction on the surrounding area (other than, for local government reasons, perhaps, on the eponymous county). Wexford, for example, and South Tipperary and Kilkenny north of Callan are probably scarcely aware of Waterford's existence on a day-to-day basis. I feel that the dominance of Dublin has increased to such an extent that all these areas are in fact in the hinterland of the Dublin City State. Waterford is thus simply one more town out there, like New Ross, like Clonmel, like Dungarvan, like Kilkenny, like Enniscorthy, like Wexford: undifferentiated in terms of significantly larger population size, or of municipal autonomy or of oversight of an 'actually existing' region (to adapt old German SED language).

    I think therefore that simply dividing the country into topographical segments and noting which town in the area is the largest (by however modest a margin) does not in itself confer regional capital status on such a town. Much of the regionalization of Ireland was undertaken for cynical purposes, to converge with European norms and thus to maximise the capital transfers available from Brussels, rather than for any organic or rational 'facts on the ground' basis (to adopt Israeli town-planning terminology).

    This is not to say that a university should be based in a large town (in the proportionate terms of its own country): look at St Andrews, Maynooth, Galway, Cambridge, even Aix - the list goes ever on. Indeed, it might be prudent to locate a South-Eastern University away from large centres of population, perhaps in Kilkenny, for the benefit of studious activity. However, that is by the way.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,272 merlante
    Registered User


    I take my hat off to merlante for this dissection of my arguments, and on most points I give you best.

    It's not a major aspect of the argument here, I know, but I have some intuitive doubts about the concept of regional capitals in Ireland today, in large part because of the development of the motorway network. I have a sense that Waterford, for example, exerts little or no geographical or gravitational attraction on the surrounding area (other than, for local government reasons, perhaps, on the eponymous county). Wexford, for example, and South Tipperary and Kilkenny north of Callan are probably scarcely aware of Waterford's existence on a day-to-day basis. I feel that the dominance of Dublin has increased to such an extent that all these areas are in fact in the hinterland of the Dublin City State. Waterford is thus simply one more town out there, like New Ross, like Clonmel, like Dungarvan, like Kilkenny, like Enniscorthy, like Wexford: undifferentiated in terms of significantly larger population size, or of municipal autonomy or of oversight of an 'actually existing' region (to adapt old German SED language).

    I think therefore that simply dividing the country into topographical segments and noting which town in the area is the largest (by however modest a margin) does not in itself confer regional capital status on such a town. Much of the regionalization of Ireland was undertaken for cynical purposes, to converge with European norms and thus to maximise the capital transfers available from Brussels, rather than for any organic or rational 'facts on the ground' basis (to adopt Israeli town-planning terminology).

    For a start, most of the regions of the country are historically the hinterland, to one extent or another, of port cities, which were and are the main commercial centres in the country, and remain the largest centres by population.

    I agree to some extent with your analysis of the south east region. Compared to Cork/South, Limerick/Mid-west and Galway/West, Waterford does not dominate the south east to nearly the same degree. This is firstly because Waterford is the smallest of the 5 cities at 50K population, surrounded by some of the larger and more developed towns outside the greater Dublin area, most prominently, Kilkenny (23K), Wexford, Clonmel and Carlow, and a highly territorially divided region. (And indeed, it is debatable whether Carlow could even be considered in the region, except for administrative purposes.) Waterford is also relatively weakened as an economic centre because of various well documented problems.

    However, it is true to say that Cork, Limerick and Galway are very effective regional capitals in those regions, providing education and employment and anchoring regional growth and prosperity. A convincing argument has been put forth that the entire south east is and has suffered due to Waterford's latter day weakness. The lack of political and economic clout to attract high tech industry and to get a university established decades ago, places not only the city but also the entire region in difficulty. Internecine inter-county wars about locations of VEC headquarters, development of regional versus county hospitals, location of proposed universities, and so on, arise due to the lack of a fully consolidated centre and are to the detriment of the region. The fact of the matter is that there is infrastructure that, if provided at all, could or should only be provided in Waterford, and therefore infighting is self-defeating. But this is all local politics!

    I think that regions in Ireland (the NUTS3 ones, not the NUTS2 ones) are reasonably sensible for the most part, today and historically. You have to have some kind of spatial planning and distribution of services in the country, and I don't believe that all services will be best provided in Dublin no matter how good the transportation network gets, unless they are specialist services. There will always be services that will be provided to populations of about 0.5m people, and these will be provided regionally.

    The relative progress and efficacy of Irish gateways is given here, where Waterford's relative weakness is highlighted.

    The NUTS2 regions are the joke regions that we created for cynical purposes.


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