Scientists: make children pay

Two geneticists from TCD in their letter to the Irish Times (April 11th, ’14) think they have a magic formula for solving the parasitic education of our children. Not well thought out but as the Dubs say, it’s bleedin’ rare! Is this the university you want your child to aspire to..? Don’t bother to read on!Sir, – The suggestion by consultancy firm Grant Thornton (“TCD says it will ’act’ on ideas for rebranding”, April 9th) that universities need to become more commercially self-sustaining is a welcome one but does not go far enough. The idea should be extended to secondary and primary schools, which could do much more to bring in income rather than simply relying on the State to fund them, as if education were a public good.

The education of young people, who do not pay any taxes, places an uneconomical burden on the precarious finances of our State. Primary schools could begin by attracting fee-paying international five-year-olds to generate new income. While this might reduce the number of places available to Irish students, the important thing is that profits are made. Educational institutions are, first and foremost, businesses, and their job is to create wealth. If, as this report suggests, they are currently at breaking point due to ever decreasing Government funding, the solution is obvious. Increasing commercialisation will enable the Government to waste less money on this parasitic sector and invest in areas that actually make a return to our economy. Yours, etc,

Smurfit Institute of Genetics
Trinity College Dublin

While there’s already too much economics and politics in education, prof Kevin Mitchell and prof McLysaght (Letters, 11th April) tell us that fee-paying five year-old school children should be imported and our own children displaced because they are “an uneconomical burden,” in order to save our economy which is at “breaking point.”

Children are not to be sacrificed to solve our problems. That is exploitation and shame on the Irish Times for condoning it. It’s a pity the professors can’t contribute something positive for the betterment of children, particularly when their own department is not self-sufficient and is happy to take hand-outs. If this is all they can contribute then education was wasted on them. Yours, etc.,

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