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Written Answers - Higher Education Institutions

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 26.  Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  if the recent Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings which failed to feature an Irish university is a cause for concern; the way he intends to address this continuing fall in rankings among Irish universities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19411/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn There is significant debate around the relative importance attached to rankings criteria and on their capacity to fully capture the quality of what is on offer in higher education institutions. The Times Higher Education World Reputation rankings are a new set of rankings in its second year and are based on reputational surveys only.

As the Deputy will be aware, the catastrophic reputational damage caused to Ireland by the inept economic management of the previous Fianna Fáil-Green Party government is perhaps the most influential factor affecting Ireland’s international reputation. The current Government has embarked on a conscious strategy to improve our reputation abroad since taking office.

Despite some decline, Irish universities continue to figure prominently in world rankings. Irish institutions are featuring in the top 1% in the world. In 2011, two Irish institutions were in the top 200 and another three in the top 400 Times Higher Education World University ranked institutions out of some 15,000 universities worldwide. Moreover, the overall performance of the Irish system was highly ranked; 17th place overall and 6th place globally relative to our GDP.

Delivering high quality higher education for a growing proportion of our population within our current resources will mean that we need to maintain a clear focus on system performance overall rather than a narrower focus on individual institutional performance.

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