Quinn: No plans to introduce 'graduate tax' loan scheme

Minister Ruairi Quinn has announced that the government has no plans currently to introduce a 'graduate tax' student-loan scheme.

The Education Minister has also told the country's third level institutions to make 'painful' cuts or his department will do it for them.

Quinn says there is too much doubling-up of courses, not enough co-operation between colleges and that greater productivity is needed.

“If they themselves, with the local knowledge they have that we can never possess, make the decisions themselves…it will be painful,” he said.

“If they don’t make them by the end of the year, it will be made for them by me under the advice of the HEA.

“We will not be make them as subtly or as carefully with the knowledge they have.”

Earlier he outlined four priorities in reforming higher education. He said these were:

1. Strengthening our university system;

2. The development and consolidation of the Institute of Technology sector;

3. The formation of regional clusters between universities, stronger institutes of technology and future technological universities;

4. Increased sustainability and capacity in the higher education system.

With regard to the fourth priority to increase the sustainability of the education sector, Minister Quinn said: "It is imperative that all higher education institutions are actively pursuing the realisation of savings as a matter of urgency", as well as confronting "embedded or restrictive work practices".

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