Tuesday, April 30, 2013

30/4/2013: Why not in Ireland?..

Bloomberg has an excellent report on MIT pairing up with Russia's Skolkovo on research, education and commercialisation:

Key stats of interest: "There were 83 international branch campuses of U.S. universities as of March, not including partnerships such as MIT and Skolkovo’s, according to GlobalHigherEd.org, a website run by researchers at the State University of New York at Albany. That number has climbed from 10 in 1990, says Jason Lane, a SUNY Albany professor."

Ok, how many are in Ireland - the country with self-professed 'best educated workforce' and focused on building 'knowledge economy' self-dubbed 'innovation island', where we are so solemnly focused on exports (yes, education is exportable and it is a very high value-adding export too)? Answer: none.

There's an MIT campus in Portugal (hardly a shining light in 'knowledge economics'), there are educational 'hubs' all over the world (http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php) and campuses all around the globe (http://www.globalhighered.org/branchcampuses.php). We even have 5 Irish institutions' campuses outside Ireland (though I seem to think UCD and TCD have either plans or actual campuses too, though they are not on the list), but when it comes to the closed shop market inside Ireland, there are no top-league unis from the US trading from the Emerald Isle into Europe and beyond.

Check out this map with locations and spot Ireland... http://www.globalhighered.org/maps.php

Why?.. We have lavish facilities for some ITs built around the country with little reason or rationale for their existence. Why not convert one of them into a JV with, say, Stanford? Princeton? Hell, University of Arkansas would be an improvement... Ah, I hear the Unis dons say, competition is good when it is regulated (aka, stacked in incumbents' favour), but in the age of economic crisis, why not get universities to start really competing for exports by giving them a worthy competitor here, targeting markets outside Ireland?
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