Knowledge based economy
Given the downturn in the construction and financial sector and the increased competition from China and India in the manufacturing sector, it is widely recognized that the best way forward for the Irish economy is via knowledge-intensive, high value-added activities.
It is really alarming, therefore, to read in the latest relevant OECD report, that Ireland is propping up the table of investment in education. In fact, government investment in this crucial infrastructure has fallen from 5.2 per cent of GDP in 1995 to a very low 4.6pc last year. The OECD average is 6.2pc while the Scandinavian countries spend over 7pc. It is no accident that they have the most advanced economies and the highest quality of life in the world, while we are stuck with the largest class sizes.
Three years ago, the Enterprise Strategy Group and the HEA called for Ireland to “be at the forefront in generating and using new knowledge for economic and social progress” and to be in the top three countries in education and research. Unfortunately, the government failed to harness the wealth needed to do this but, along with Fine Gael & Labour, took the easy route of promising more tax cuts, particularly for the very wealthy, including the property speculators who have contributed to the disruptive boom & bust in property prices.