Rethinking further education

Sir, – To continue to support the myth that the fee-paying schools produce the best access to further and third-level education, and therefore the most successful outcomes, is not only elitist but blatantly untrue. It fails to recognise that “third-level” education comes in many forms, of which a degree is only one, and does not necessarily lead to a fulfilling and financially safe future.

Just because you have “access” to university does not mean you are suited to academia or it to you.

Hence the large number of students who “drop out” after the first year.

What about all the people who choose a trade, an apprenticeship or who go straight into the workplace?


All are being educated, just in a different way.

Why is there not more praise, encouragement and recognition for our tradespeople, our creche staff, our technicians, our chefs, our logistics workers, our care workers, our office and support staff at all levels? The list of occupations is endless. They may not have a university degree but without them our society would not function. We would not get our houses built, our cars serviced, our shops stocked, our hotel and restaurants staffed, our transport systems functioning, our elderly cared for, our children minded. That list too is endless. Without these people, our “elite” university graduates would not survive.

We are all valuable and interdependent, and the sooner we stop promoting the idea that a university degree is the be-all and end-all in life and start respecting the value of each individual and their contribution to a healthy society, the better for us all.

You will never be out of work as a tradesperson, but you might well be with just a few letters after your name! – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.