College fees options 'to be included in Coalition review'

 

ANY BRINGING back of third-level fees would have to form part of negotiations for a new programme for government, Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe said yesterday.

Speaking in Limerick, he said his Government colleagues had just one more week to make submissions on the proposals he has submitted to Cabinet for the reintroduction of student fees.

The Minister said he was particularly looking forward to comments from the three former ministers for education in the Cabinet.

“September 15th is the last day for my colleagues in Cabinet to make observations on the proposals that I have outlined to them . . . It’s a question for Government to decide whether there should be a student contribution.

“The present programme for government excludes a student contribution, so if it was to be introduced it would be a major change in policy for the Government,” he added.

Mr O’Keeffe was in Limerick yesterday for the market launch of the first bundle of third-level educational facilities to be delivered under the Government’s public private partnership (PPP) plan.

The projects are a library and information centre in Limerick Institute of Technology; phase two of a library project in the University of Limerick; a library extension in Cork Institute of Technology; and a digital media teaching building, consolidated workshops and multi-purpose hall in Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dublin.

In his address to launch the open day for interested consortia, the Minister said the Government had prioritised its programme of investment in modernising and updating educational infrastructure at all levels.

“Our PPP programme will deliver enhanced facilities in engineering, information technology, science and technology, catering, tourism and the arts, as well as primary and post-primary schools throughout the country,” he said,

A total of 17 projects will be delivered in nine educational institutions as part of the PPP plan, according to the Minister.