Thursday, 17 October 2019

Ceisteanna (63)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

63. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to develop a strategy to address the falling university rankings. [42528/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The private higher education ranking systems, of which there are many, each monitor different aspects of international higher education institutions.  In the most recent set of rankings (Times Higher Education global rankings) two Irish universities ranked lower than last year while three maintained and two increased their ranking band.

Each of the systems award different weightings to various components of the area under review and the ranking assigned in any particular year not only depends on how an individual institution has performed, but also on how it has performed in relation to all other institutions under review. 

In the context of overall system performance progression and excellence, the fulfilment of specific broader Government policies may have adversely impacted on rankings for the long term benefit of the higher education system and its wider role in Irish society.  This is evident in terms of investment in access and inclusion, skills development and structural reform which will futureproof the system.

It is therefore important that we set goals for the system and then benchmark these against best international practice rather than solely depending on comparison across variable ranking systems. While the rankings are informative when taken in context, they should be seen as one element of feedback on the higher education system and I do not propose to deliver a specific strategy in this area.