‘Overqualified’ graduates


Sir, – Two thoughts sprang to mind when I read the article on the “fact” that large numbers of our graduates are “overqualified” for their jobs (News, September 22nd).

The first is the obvious one that education is for life, not just the workplace, and the increasing tendency to talk about education purely in terms of “skills” is all a bit depressing.

Whatever happened to that old-fashioned phrase, “an educated person”?

The second is that there seems to be an increasing number of commentators who are jumping at the chance to suggest that other people’s children should forego higher education and take up apprenticeships, and this at a time when the OECD has shown quite clearly that the lifetime financial benefit of higher education is higher in Ireland than anywhere else in the world.

To suggest, therefore, that our high higher-education participation rates are the result of parental snobbery is simply ridiculous. – Yours, etc,


Associate Dean

for Teaching and Learning,

Dublin City University,

Dublin 9.

Sir, – For too many years the rarefied air of third-level education was only available to a privileged few.

To see the joy on the faces of many who are the first in their family to obtain a third-level qualification is brilliant. It is not snobbish to aim for a third-level education for your child. Third-level qualifications are where pay, status, and respect have resided in Ireland. We have far less admiration for those who make it in other spheres.

The challenge is to build a society where we can utilise the education and experience of all.

The benefits of a third-level education show up in a person’s feeling of belonging, in their feeling of being valued, in social cohesion.

Education is a life-long process. We need to welcome everyone to third level. If they succeed now or succeed later, it will stand to them and to society.

We also need to value apprenticeship and other routes to employment, not least by paying them well.

We do not want a return to the bad old days of privilege for the few. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 9.