Archive for May 24, 2010

Three out of Four Teacher Unions Vote no. Second and Third level Education Unions Stand Together

IFUT votes 68% no—three of four teacher unions have now voted no—IFUT has today reiterated that it will not be bound by majority decision of Public Service unions

Recent ballot outcomes are as follows:

TUI No 75%, Yes 25%

ASTI No 62%, Yes 38%

IFUT No 68% Yes 32%

INTO No 35%, Yes 65%

CPSU has already had a 67% NO Vote

Lansdown Rd Agreement Would Further Damage Education, Health and All Public Services

May 24, 2010 1 comment

Campaign Against Lansdowne Rd Agreement–National Public Service Alliance Convener: Paddy Healy 086-4183732


Less Than 1 in 3 (29%) Voted for Agreement

Over 60% Did Not Vote

 The Impact Leadership trumpeted the 75% to 25% vote in favour of the Lansdowne Rd Agreement. But it failed to mention that over 60% of the membership did not vote and only 29% of the membership supported the Agreement. This was in spite of the deployment of the full complement of union officials throughout the country during the ballot to put a spin on a disastrous agreement.  As shown below, the members were seriously misled on very important matters by the IMPACT leadership.

The voting strike by the majority of members shows growing lack of confidence in the leadership by members. Some branches were not misled and the roll of honour of “no” voting branches is carried below. There was a strong “no” vote in other branches also. However the overall response of members was the Voting Strike. This was particularly strong in some very large Dublin Branches.

Full Result

Membership   c.59,000      Total Poll    22,830   %Poll 39%   % Yes of Membership 29

% of Those who Voted            Yes  75%      No 25%

Roll Of Honour     IMPACT Branches Which Voted NO To Lansdowne Rd Agreement

(% of those who voted)   Branch

YES                    NO             %Yes          %NO

TIPPERARY South HSE                     62                      257              19%             81%

Primary Sch. Inspectors                     10                     41                20%              80%

Irish Youth Justice                             18                     66                 21                 79%

Road Safety  Auth                           28                      47                 37%              63%

Dun Laoire/Rathdown                     65                    203               24%               76%

GVO Professional                           22                       25                 47%             53%



IMPACT has also told branch secretaries that there was no expectation that additional hours would cease with the expiry of Haddington Rd on July1, 2016.IMPACT makes a false comparison with a clause in Croke Park 1. As Haddington RD was in substitution for EMERGENCY LEGISLATION, that comparison  is not valid. TUI Leaders do not agree with the IMPACT position on expiry of additional hours. Most teachers at second level and lecturers  in Third Level Institutes of Technology, intend to retain Haddington Rd until July 1, 2016 and to drop the additional hours on that date before resuming negotiations.

This is in addition to the misinformation on Section 2B, of FEMPI carried below



Government retains power to unilaterally cut pay and worsen working conditions


According to IMPACT, “In October 2014, Section 2B of the FEMPI legislation was deleted.” (p. 7)

Just over two years ago, the majority of public sector workers voted to reject Croke Park 2. (‘Croke Park II rejected as two major unions vote No’,, 17 April 2013) Following the rejection, a bit of tweaking of Croke Park 2 produced the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA). In case union members were minded to reject HRA, the Government included a section in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act (FEMPI Act) that would enable them to unilaterally (i.e. without our agreement) cut our pay and worsen our working conditions. This was Section 2B, passed in the Dáil in May 2013.

The only way to avoid the consequences of Section 2B, to avoid being ‘FEM-peed’, was for unions to vote in favour of a collective agreement, HRA, and register our acceptance of the agreement with the Labour Relations Commission. Some unions resisted HRA but ultimately the vast majority signed up under the threat of Section 2B. There was no end of rhetoric at the ICTU biennial conference in Belfast in July 2013 about the injustice of FEMPI, in particular Section 2B. An emergency motion was passed at the conference calling for a “vigorous and robust campaign” to repeal FEMPI.

No such campaign was ever launched but in October of 2014, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, announced that Section 2B would be deleted. The unions welcomed Howlin’s move. For example, the INMO described it as “very welcome.”

However, other unions appear to claim that Howlin’s stated intention to delete Section 2B has actually been carried out. According to IMPACT, “In October 2014, Section 2B of the FEMPI legislation was deleted.” (p. 7) In his speech to ASTI Annual Convention in April 2015, General Secretary Pat King claimed that “the most offensive section of FEMPI, Section 2B, was removed in October 2014.”

Has Section 2B actually been deleted or removed? The Irish Statute Book shows that Section 2B is still in place: If it has not yet been deleted or removed (as of July 2015), when might this happen? From our research, we have discovered that Section 2B is not scheduled for deletion until 1st October 2015 at the earliest. This is the scheduled date for the commencement of the Workplace Relations Act 2015, Section 86(3) of which provides for the deletion of Section 2B of FEMPI.

We can conclude, then, that as unions are voting on the Lansdowne Road Agreement up until September/October (for ASTI, TUI), the Government is retaining the power to unilaterally cut our pay and worsen our working conditions at least until October 2015. Could the threat of FEMPI be used once again against the remaining No unions at that stage?

Mark Walshe, ASTI Standing Committee (personal capacity)

Paddy Healy, Former President of the TUI


From Paddy Healy, Former President, TUI, CONVENER National Public Service Alliance against Lansdowne Rd Agreement,

The following Unions, 5 in all, have now recommended a “No” vote to Lansdowne Rd—Teachers Union of Ireland, Irish Medical Organisation, OPATSI (Plasterers Union), Association of Higher Civil Servants, Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI)

NB  Due to TUI Motion passed at ICTU Biennial Congress 2003, individual unions cannot be compelled by an ICTU majority to continue additional hours, shorter holidays or additional duties.

Individual unions may continue with existing agreement (Haddington RD Agreement) until it expires on July 1, 2016. The additional hours and duties will then expire. Negotiations can then be sought with the new government.-PH

Irish Independent

The powerful, 23-member Standing  Committee of the Association  of  Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) is recommending a  “no” vote in a ballot of members, expected to take place in the autumn

The decision, taken at a meeting of the Standing Committee today, will be considered by the ASTI 180-member  executive in late Augusts/early September, which  will take a final decision on the recommendation to be put to members.

The other union representing  teachers at second-level, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), is recommending rejection of the  deal, while the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) is urging a “yes” vote.

From Newstalk

Higher Civil and Public Servants union recommends members to reject the Lansdowne Road Agreement

The Executive Committee of the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants decided unanimously on Monday to recommend its 2,850 members vote against the pay deal

The Union has called on its members to reject the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Under the proposals, public servants are to receive an income boost of €2000 euro.

In a statement on Monday evening, the union says the proposals ‘actively discriminate’ against their members in terms of the final outcome, which its labelled ‘grossly unfair’.

It goes on to say they union are now considering a ‘range of options’, including industrial action.

TUI,  OPATSI (the plasterers union) and IMO (medical doctors trade union) have recommended rejection of the proposed agreement.

   this Agreement is Imposed by ICTU, extra hours, reduced annual leave, recruiting restrictions, casualisation etc existing cuts,  will continue for 3 more years” 

The pay rise is a pittance, has nothing to do with “restoration” and is less than that being claimed by trade unions representing comparable grades in private sector.


Short Links         Vote NO in  INTO

Some General Secretaries are suggesting to members that they can be outvoted on Lansdowne RD by a vote at a special Congress of ICTU or by an aggregate vote of all ICTU UNIONS

NOT TRUE!  Don’t be Pressurised!

AT the ICTU Biennial Congress in 2003 the TUI tabled the following motion:

This Conference respects the integrity of each union or group of unions in both the negotiation of the conditions of service of their members and of the decision-making process in relation to any such negotiation.

This Conference directs the Executive Council to respect these principles in any future negotiations towards any proposed National Agreements and to utilise approaches such as the local bargaining clause in the PCW in order to implement such principles.

The motion was passed and never overturned but an attempt is being made to forget it!

As the Lansdowe Rd Areement requires additional hours to be worked for an additional two years and reduced holidays for many, it comes within the remit of the ICTU motion.

As then vice president of TUI, I initiated the motion at TUI executive. Senior official, Peter McMenamin proposed it at ICTU.—————————————————————————————————————————————-


These agreements are Registered at the Labour Relations Commission (not with Labour Court). ICTU is not a party to these agreements as it is not a trade union but a convening centre for trade unions. The individual public sector union and the specific public service employer (eg HSE, Institutes of Technology, Government Department) are the parties to the agreement. Only the parties to an Agreement can break it.

When these Agreements expire on July 1, 2016, Unions will be in a much stronger negotiating position at that time.

The new private sector agreements for 2015 will then be in place. The biggest craft union,TEEU, is claiming 5%.

PS unions can then claim the increases its traditional analogues(comparators) in private sector have achieved and restoration of pay cuts as well.

Copies of the agreements are in trade union head offices.  Some general secretaries are trying to bury them. PERSIST WITH YOUR REQUEST! 


Draft Discussion Document-Paddy Healy       TO BE REVISED

The Lansdowne RD Agreement represents a further abject capitulation by the ICTU to the austerity policies of successive governments. It is based on the assumption that only a tiny sum of money is available over the next 3 years to restore public service pay and pensions and public services.

On this basis totally inadequate pay increases are proposed even for the most lowly paid and additional hours and duties which would expire in 12 months time under the existing agreement are continued for a further two years. There is not a single mention in the agreement of increases to pensions in payment which were also cut under the two FEMPI ACTS. The shortages of staff, and concomitant severe intensity of work, which are damaging all our public services and undermining safety of human beings in our hospitals are to continue.

No “Restoration”

It is arguable that there is no net restoration of pay in the agreement because the proposed increases are the same or less than those occurring in comparable private sector employments  particularly in areas where there were no pay cuts. Though price inflation has been low, it has been greater than the proposed increases since the cuts. Inflation Figures: 2011, 2.59%; 2012, 1.72%; 2013, 0.5%, 2014, 0.2%.   Compounded (2011to 2014) 10.7%

“IBEC, the group that represents Irish businesses, will today publish a study covering hundreds of companies which suggests the average pay increase in private sector will be 2pc- – – The Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union told the Irish Independent its strategy for the new year will be to lodge claims for 5pc increases over 12 months”                                  Irish Independent June 6/2015

ICTU Colluding With Increasing Inequity in Society

ICTU accepts that only 536million or c300 million after tax, is available over the next three years to improve pay.   There are c.300, 000 public servants

This is a blatant falsehood to which ICTU has subscribed.


Increase in Financial Assets from the 2008 (“Bust”) to 2013 was 93 billion or an increase 51% of Gross Domestic Product(GDP) . There has been further annual increases since then.( as indicated by Sunday Times Rich List Last Sunday)

These Assets have more than doubled. There is no wealth tax on these massive gains.

In 2013 Net Financial Assets of Households were 26 Billion Euro above 2006 peak “boom” level.

The super-rich are now richer than they were at the height of the boom

Incomes of Super-Rich

Top 5%  108,250   Total Income €20,122 m  Aveage Income €185,885   Revenue  €7,145 m (Tax + PRSI+USC)36%  Average After Tax INCOME               €120,000  PQ Reply Michael Noonan to Seamus Healy TD 2013

In 2012 the top 5%(108,250) of income recipients had a total income of  over 20 Billion and an average annual income of 189 thousand Euro each. When PRSI is excluded they pay less than 30% of their entire income in income tax. Of these, the top 10,000 have an average income of 595,000 euro each. There are no public servants in this group.

Instead of increasing income and imposing wealth tax on these fabulously rich people, Michael Noonan gave each of them 747 euro in tax relief or a total of  81 million Euro in the last Budget

The reason that only small amounts of money are available to restore pay and pension cuts is that successive governments have refused to tax the assets of the very rich and to tax adequately their incomes.

In addition the state is spending c.8 billion per year paying interest on the national debt. This debt was accumulated through borrowing money to pay off huge investors in failed banks and borrowing to provide necessary public services rather than taxing the assets and incomes of the very rich when transactional property revenues dried up.

For a person on the lower marginal rate of tax a pay increase of 1000 euro per year amounts to less than 700 euro after tax, PRSI, USC,and pension contribution is deducted. This is less than the 747 Euro which the Government gave to all those earning from 80,000 to 2 million per year in the last budget.

And the Government has promised to give them at least the same again in the coming budget through tax cuts! 

For a person on the higher marginal rate of tax an increase of 1000 Euro will amount to less than 600 Euro after all deductions and about 11Euro per week.

This gross unfairness in government policy is also reflected in the fact that when all taxes, including VAT and excise is taken into account the poorest 10%  of the populatio pay the highest proportion of their income in tax according to CSO!!!

Through this agreement ICTU is continuing its support for policies, which are grossly unfair to public servants and to the poor.

ICTU collaborated with totally irresponsible extreme capitalist policies, including privatisations and right-wing income tax cutting, during the boom. It was represented on the Board of Directors of the Central Bank which allowed banks to borrow, and to lend out, an unprecedented additional 50% of GDP  between 2003 and 2007. It is now collaborating with grossly unfair austerity policies in the recession.

Unions are required to engage with all government plans for change (wrongly called reforms) and to submit to binding arbitration on a far wider range of issues than under Haddington Rd Agreement even if the issues are professional issues rather than industrial relations issues. This means that industrial action is banned in any conceivable circumstance. For example, the days of action on the JUNIOR CYCLE issue would have been banned if Lansdowne Rd Agreement had been in place.

The matters with which local authority workers have to engage subject to binding arbitration of disputes include: “in the Local Government Sector the Action Programme for Effective Local Government Putting

People First; and Irish Water Programme;”

Because of the contentious issue of water charging and water metering, colleagues in Local government may wish to explain to us the possible meaning of this clause of the Agreement.


Our campaign to defeat the Lansdowne RD Agreement is a campaign against gross unfairness to public servants ,serving and retired, both in pay and pensions and in working conditions including extra hours of work. It is a campaign against the damage being done to our public services by recruitment embargoes and other cuts. It is a campaign against continued casualisation of work. It is a campaign against discrimination against recent entrants in pay and pension schemes. It is a campaign against collusion with this unfairness to public servants and with austerity generally by ICTU including the protection of the huge assets and incomes of the rich and the infliction of deprivation on the poor.

We seek fair pay rises including restoration of pay and pensions and the withdrawal of extra working hours and extra duties imposed under Haddington Road and Croke Park 1

We have always advocated greater percentage increases for the lowly paid and continue to do so. The current increases for the lowly paid are grossly inadequate.

We call for the immediate and complete repeal of FEMPI 1 and FEMPI 2

We are heartened by the recommendation of Teachers Union of Ireland, OPATSI the plasterers union and the Irish Medical Orgaisation to  members to vote against this Agreement.

Let us begin the campaign.

 Agreements Registered With LRC UNDER FEPMI ACT 2013

Some public service trade union officials are seeking to mislead members into believing that  AGREEMENTS between the Union and its specific public service employer have not been regitered at the Labour Relations Commission. This is designed to deflect arguments to the effect that a better option for members would be to reject Lansdowne RD and await the expiry of the registered agreement in July 2016 foregoing the tiny pay rise in the proposed agreement. The extra hours and duties would then disappear and the union would be in much more powerful position to negotiate pay and hours.

These agreements registered at the LRC  do exist and any union member is entitle to get a copy from union head office.

Below is the relevant section of FEMPI ACT 2013

7.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this section and section 8, for the period of 3 years beginning on 1 July 2013— (a) no increment shall be awarded to a public servant; and (b) the operation of the pay scale that applies in respect of a public servant shall stand suspended, 10 and with the effect that— (i) the point on that pay scale that shall be applicable in respect of a public servant on 1 July 2016 shall be that which was applicable on 1 July 2013 in respect of him or her, and  (ii) the operation of that pay scale, on and from 1 July 2016, shall be by reference to service of the public servant on and from 1 July 2016, but this is subject to subsection (2). (2) Subsection (1)(b)(ii) does not operate to exclude for the purpose of the operation of the pay scale so much of the service of the 20 public servant, before 1 July 2013, as would have been reckoned for the purpose of the next immediate increment that, but for the suspension of the pay scale by virtue of subsection (1), would have fallen to be awarded to him or her on or after 1 July 2013. (3) The reference in subsection (1) to the pay scale that is applic- 25 able in respect of a public servant (being a public servant to whom the amendment hereafter mentioned relates) is a reference to that pay scale as it stands adjusted by virtue or in consequence of the amendment of the Act of 2009 made by section 2. (4) For the avoidance of doubt, subsection (1) has effect in 30 relation to a pay scale that, in consequence of a public servant’s appointment or promotion to a position after 1 July 2013 (but before 1 July 2016), falls to be applied subsequent to 1 July 2013 as it has effect in relation to a pay scale that applies to a public servant on 1 July 2013, but with the substitution in that subsection for the refer- 35 ence to 1 July 2013 (where it secondly occurs) of a reference to the date of such appointment or promotion of the public servant. (5) Notwithstanding anything in the preceding subsections of this section, subsection (1) shall— (a) apply to a public servant only to the extent specified in the 40 agreement, or (b) apply to a public servant with such modifications as are specified in the agreement, to whom a collective agreement relates and which agreement— (i) for the time being stands registered with the Labour  Relations Commission for the purposes of this section, and  Pay scales: suspension, subject to exceptions, for certain period. Exemption, etc., from operation of section 7 in certain circumstances. Certain pension rights not affected. (ii) provides for the application to such a public servant of subsection (1) in the manner described in paragraph (a) or (b), as the case may be.


Croke Park Deal And academic Freedom

If we allowed Croke Park Deal to be imposed on us, managerialist developments, undermining of university autonomy, weakening of tenure and academic freedom and destruction of scholarship would be immeasurably accelerated. The processes described by Tom Garvin and Jim McKernan would become rampant.
For more by respected University Academics and the challenges to academic freedom


Staff in Health Services


IMPACT leadership has accepted the Labour Court Recommendation which confirms this. Any suggestion that because the FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT is “timeless” ,it will not be changed by the Croke Park Deal, is entirely false.

Ten clauses which the Labour Court ordered to be changed to come into line with Croke Park Deal include

  • location(redeployment)
  • Appointment and Promotion
  • Common Recruitment Pool
  • Reporting Relations
  • Outsourcing

The national executive had changed its recommendation to “yes” even before talks had started and began the ballot before talks had ended!
All IMPACT members are being asked to vote yes to changes that will only become fully clear afterwards. Members in HSE are being asked to vote yes before the elimination of key protections in the Framework Agreement and in their employment contracts is finalised. Acceptance of the Croke Park Deal would give the green light to government to eliminate the protections for staff contained in the legislation setting up the HSE(Section 60,Health Act, 2004).
Disagreement in the talks will be resolved by a final or binding adjudication by the Labour Court without a further hearing. The criteria for the adjudication are whether the changes bring the Framework into line with the Croke Park Deal.


Following a “yes” vote, further talks would take place to bring conditions of service in HSE into line with common conditions across the public service . The Labour Court has ordered that common conditions be imposed on all staff in the Public Health Service who pay the pension levy and are subject to the pay cut. This includes staff employed in voluntary hospitals and HSE funded agencies. As the Deal is designed to achieve savings, the worst conditions are likely to be imposed.
A “YES” vote would effectively remove all special protections for HSE staff in the Framework Agreement, in individual employment contracts of staff already transferred to HSE from Health Bords and in Section 60, Health Act, 2004.

Reorganisation in Health Services

“(a) providing, across all settings, planned services over an extended (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) day on a Monday to Friday basis and/or five over seven day basis, while also providing emergency services on a 24-hour 7-day basis, thereby reducing the staffing and other resources required at nights and weekends;” (Health Services Sectoral Agreement) The key sentence here is that the arrangement must “reduce staffing resources required”.
This can only be done by reducing income and imposing unsocial working, and all in the context of the pay cut imposed in the last budget !


THE CROKE PARK DEAL UNDERMINES PAY, PERMANENCY, PENSIONS AND PROMOTIONAL PROSPECTS in Local Authorities, Core Civil Service, Education and the Health Services. All existing contracts would be over-ridden by the Deal. For effects on staff transferred from old regional health boards to HSE, see overleaf.
BINDING ARBITRATION Ultimately, the resolution of all disputes about the DEAL will be resolved by “final” or binding arbitration by the Labour Court. This means that the union will be unable to prevent changes being imposed on members against their wishes if there is a “yes” vote.

PAY and Pension

The Deal provides for a four year pay and pensions freeze regardless of price rises A severe bout of inflation would severely reduce the value of pay and pensions There is no guarantee against further pay reductions or of restoration of the pay cut Conditions of Service will already have been devastated before the government is required to decide whether to use the escape clause under the “clarification” of the Deal.


has been accepted by IMPACT/ICTU leaderships and the remaining staff will carry out the extra work. Dismissal of Temporary Staff will continue. The statement in the “clarification” that the staffing moratorium is “independent” of the deal is pure posturing on both sides with no effect . REDEPLOYMENTto posts across the public service and beyond the 45km guideline and even to posts outside a profession is in the DEAL. Compulsory Redundancy is accepted by public service unions for permanent and CID staff for the first time, if the employee cannot accept redeployment.


–Extract from general Public Service Proposals-: “The parties agree that, — skilled personnel from outside the Public Service will be recruited to secure scarce and needed skills at all levels. Merit-based, competitive promotion policies will be the norm. — with promotion and incremental progression linked in all cases to performance”.All existing promotional arrangements will have to be brought into line with the above. Promotional opportunities for internal staff will be reduced . Individual Performance Management Development Systems will be applied everywhere. Increments are awarded currently unless management specifically objects in the case of an individual This will now change and your assessing superior will be in a position to block your increment each year following an individual assessment under PMDS.


to non-trade union employments which are only required to pay the minimum wage and other legally enforceable wage rates is part of the DEAL. Clarification specifies that outsourcing will apply to all parts of the public service(eg professional services). Because the government set aside T2016, unions were in a position to resist outsourcing, but the Croke Park negotiators agreed to put it back into the new deal. This is an engine designed to reduce pay rates across the public sector. It will undermine trade union power.
This leaflet has been produced by IMPACT members across several branches

Categories: Croke Park Deal Tags: ,

The Idea of a University: an Essay in Support of Professor Tom Garvin’s Thesis of Grey Philistines Taking Over Our Universities, Jim Mc Kernan, East Carolina

May 24, 2010 2 comments

Jim McKernan
Social and Cultural Foundations of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA Email


Professor Tom Garvin’s eloquent and critical essay “Grey philistines taking over our universities” is cogent, timely, and also necessary reading at this critical juncture in Irish higher education. His remarks, which invite widespread discussion and debate, are not only applicable to education at University College Dublin, but for education in the round. I also write as a former lecturer in the Faculty of Arts who watched how the university began to ape the same processes which drove the Irish Celtic Tiger and adopted much of that education-for-profit strategy as a prolegomenon for the current situation. I have chosen as the title of my essay that of John Henry Cardinal Newman in his famous work The Idea of a University based on lectures he gave in setting up the Catholic University of Ireland in 1854; now University College Dublin. It is instructive to note that Professor Garvin’s thesis is in accord with the sentiments of Cardinal Newman. It is of further notable interest that plans are afoot to canonize Cardinal Newman in September of this year. This should be a big event for University College Dublin and the National University of Ireland. I feel sure Cardinal Newman would roll over in his grave were he to see how “education” is conducted at the university he established. It is my thesis that we are in danger of losing our concept of education in favour of lower notions of instruction and training . Let me explain. By ‘training” I mean a process which suggests the acquisition of skills and the enhancing of performance capacities. By ‘instruction’ I mean learning facts and new information-the results of retention. But by ‘education’ one understands induction into the forms and fields of knowledge: those thought processes and intellectual activities that allow one to know the epistemologies of the culture so that we can think rationally, by using it. Too often nowadays, even folks in universities confuse training and instruction with pure ‘education’. We lose sight of this concept of education at our peril.

Professor Garvin is right to lament that intellectual activity for its own sake is being hi-jacked in favour ofa penchant for managerialism and the intrusions of technical rationality so characteristic of the business-industrial complex today. Traditional (basic) research, what Garvin calls “blue sky” inquiry, in the human and social sciences is being viewed as inappropriate in favour of applied scientific “evidence-based” research methodologies where grant money is being currently channeled. This strategy is acknowledged as the legitimate way forward in official policy statements from the OECD and US Federal Government on the future of research in higher education. Those who have sought to find the truth through historical and other qualitative research methods are being ignored by funding agents across the Western World.
Professor Garvin’s thesis is sustainable. Personally, this author witnessed the same rampant technical rationality when I accepted the first Deanship of Education at Limerick University. I resigned and resumed my professorial duties in America apart from that environment. I admit I expected some of this managerialism at Limerick, which had emerged from a technological base, but not the out-of-control intrusions of technical rationality resulting in a now discredited “Total Quality Management” strategy (which has been abandoned in most American universities) for the entire university and its emphasis on “entrepreneurship”. I see this managerialism evident in every facet of education today in both the USA and Ireland. Yesterday I heard the Governor of North Carolina, a former teacher, Beverley Perdue; state that the first word a six year old should learn should be “entrepreneurship”. She was delighted to learn that our local Pitt Community College had received 21 million dollars of the President’s Stimulus Package to set up IT programs to educate hospital administrators digitalize medical recordkeeping.
What is the aim of a university education? Let us recount what Cardinal Newman argued:
“I am asked what is the end of University Education, and of the Liberal or Philosophical Knowledge which I conceive it to impart: I answer, that what I have already {103} said has been sufficient to show that it has a very tangible,real, and sufficient end, though the end cannot be divided from that knowledge itself. Knowledge is capable of being its own end. Such is the constitution of the human mind, that any kind of knowledge, if it be really such, is its own reward.”
Further on in the work Newman expands his ideas:
“Now, when I say that Knowledge is, not merely a means to something beyond it, or the preliminary of certain arts into which it naturally resolves, but an end sufficient to rest in and to pursue for its own sake, surely I am uttering no paradox, for I am stating what is both intelligible in itself, and has ever been the common judgment of philosophers and the ordinary feeling of mankind. I am saying what at least the public opinion of this day ought to be slow to deny, considering how much we have heard of late years, in opposition to Religion, of entertaining, curious, and various knowledge. I am but saying what whole volumes have been written to illustrate, viz., by a selection from the records of Philosophy, Literature, and Art, in all ages and countries, of a body of examples, to show how the most unpropitious circumstances have been unable to conquer an ardent desire for the acquisition of knowledge. That further advantages accrue to us and redound to others by its possession, over and above what it is in itself, I am very far indeed from denying; but,independent of these, we are satisfying a direct need of our nature in its very acquisition; and, whereas our nature, unlike that of the inferior creation, does not at once reach its perfection, but depends, in order to it, on a number of external aids and appliances, Knowledge, as one of the principal of these, is valuable for what its very presence in us does for us after the manner of a habit, even though it be turned to no further account, nor subserve any direct end.”

Newman argues consistently that knowledge for its own sake is a significant purpose of a scholar in a university-moreover, this is the very essence of conduct within a liberal education:
“This process of training, by which the intellect, instead of being formed or sacrificed to some particular or accidental purpose, some specific trade or profession, or study or science, is disciplined for its own sake, for the perception of its own proper object, and for its own highest culture, is called Liberal Education; and though there is no one in whom it is carried as far as is conceivable, or whose intellect would be a pattern of what intellects should be made, yet there is scarcely any one but may gain an idea of what real training is, and at least look towards it, and make its true scope and result, not something else, his standard of excellence; {153} and numbers there are who may submit themselves to it, and secure it to themselves in good measure. And to set forth the right standard, and to train according to it, and to help forward all students towards it according to their various capacities, this I conceive to be the business of a University.

The Technologisation of Education

It should be pointed out that this notion of technical means-ends rationality in education began with the Americans. In particular Franklin Bobbitt, a former engineer who became Dean of the School of Education at Stanford University. In 1918 Bobbitt argued for a form of efficiency-accountability that schools should be like factories where students are viewed as products and that the physical plant should be utilized on a shift basis throughout the school year. He became so enthralled with this that he produced a book outlining some 800 behaviours all responsible citizens should be able to perform. He operationlised the use of behavioural performance objectives and the American and European systems of educational planning have never been the same since. This “Science in Education” movement led to Educational Psychologists embracing Behaviourism as an appropriate theory for curriculum design. That is, that teachers should state specific outcomes in students in terms of behavioural performances in order to be accountable that students had mastered subject knowledge. I liked Professor Garvin’s comment relating to a remark made by Picasso that predicting outcomes makes a nonsense of any activity and in essence in education it would deny the use of imagination. My mentor Professor Lawrence Stenhouse once remarked

“Education as induction into knowledge is successful to the extent
that it makes the behavioural outcomes of the students unpredictable”

Professor Garvin also grasps an important nettle in commenting about the loss of imagination in educational culture. Mary Warnock, the English philosopher wrote that “imagination is the faculty by means of which one is able to envisage things as they are not”. The trend nowadays in education is to plan all the outcomes as behaviours in advance of instruction, and test student by means of objective type multiple choice tests to see if they have mastered this ‘rhetoric of conclusions’. On this model students never exercise their own creative imagination or critical discourse-they select random options already printed on the test page. This is not education but mere training and instruction-teaching to the test.


I believe that there are very real possibilities that education can be reclaimed from these ‘grey philistines and merchants of managerialism’. The idea of a university is that it is a community of scholars having a discourse, using a variety of research methods appropriate to their discipline to advance knowledge, to contribute to searching for truth through inquiry, to conduct teaching of this knowledge and these methods, so that students can get into perspective the knowledge which they do not yet possess and to offer service to the university and the community. The main thing is to permit academic freedom in the pursuit of these inquiries. Academic freedom means that lecturers and professors have an unfettered right to select materials and methods appropriate to their discipline and the right to conduct research that matches their curiosity and interests. The health of Irish education and society is indeed tied to this notion of academic freedom-which is being eroded at present by arguments to abolish tenure with fixed term appointments and by not appointing Professors to disciplinary chairs such as the languages (German, Spanish, French) at UCD, which Professor Caldicott, pointed out in his response to Professor Garvin’s piece. The UCD administration seems only interested in the “bottom line” here-saving funds through cost cutting vital disciplinary appointments and operations that have been hugely successful like the Language Laboratory. The reorganization of University College Dublin into Schools that are integrated and interdisciplinary does not speak to the definite epistemology of the disciplines of knowledge as historically understood. This reorganization, albeit in the name of efficiency, seems utterly incoherent to this observer. I have watched in my lifetime whole departments of Logic, Philosophy, (subjects at the core of a liberal education from medieval times) and indeed Colleges of Teacher Education, disappear due to the ‘bottom line’ mentality. The control by universities and other agencies of higher education over teaching, research and learning and their inalienable right to academic freedom must not be relinquished to external agencies and government. Dublin City University President Ferdinand Von Prondzynski’s accountability arguments are not sound. The logic of his argument makes academic freedom a joke. He says that universities should not be a place of leisurely intellectual pursuits. This is what has characterized the greatest universities throughout history. As scholars we are accountable to the standards immanent in our respective disciplines first. Of course it is right that any government or foundation granting money for research demands accountability-but the idea that these agents would run the university is a sacrilege. Further the idea that the Arts disciplines would not be funded is indicative of a Philistinian philosophy of education. As Professor Garvin suggested , one of the better ideas of mankind was to establish universities where truth and knowledge could be pursued for their own sake. I would argue that it was the setting up of universities in the 11th century in Europe (first in Italy by the Pope at Salerno and Bologna) that saved world culture and literacy from extinction during the ‘Dark Ages’. Ireland, to give her fair dues, played an essential role in establishing Monastic Schools keeping learning alive in a desperate time during the early Middle Ages. Hence the phrase “land of saints and scholars”. In this respect we owe a great debt also to our Arab friends who had perhaps the greatest institutes of higher education by the 9th and 10th centuries and who had transcribed many of the lost works of the Greeks and Roman scholars. My favourite scholar was, however, Peter Abelard, (1079-1142) the Scholastic philosopher and logician, who criticized state and church and was perhaps the greatest scholar of Paris in his day and precursor to the establishment of the secular University of Paris in or around 1160 A.D. Abelard taught us that the critical thought of an independent and free scholar would be a valuable aspect of higher education. We need to respect the various methods by which scholarship is engaged and invite our students into this search. It is a search that does not discriminate between the arts and sciences. That, I believe, is the idea of a university.

May 23rd, 2010