Category Archives: Education

European Democrat Students launch ‘Knowledge is Power’ campaign

Logo of the European Democrat Students

The European Democrat Students (EDS) yesterday launched their “Knowledge is Power Campaign”. This campaign encourages EU political leaders to prioritize efforts on higher education and research funding. EDS urges leaders to introduce stimulus packages for the higher education sector, which is an important factor to help boost economic recovery in Europe.

The EDS emphasizes the importance of having a good education system for our future generations, and wish to encourage politicians to invest more resources in higher education and research. The EDS strongly believes that Europe 2020 is the fundamental guideline for all 27 Member States and thus, endorse the principle of a knowledge-based economy where higher education is a central pillar for sustainable economic growth.

EPP President Wilfried Martens strongly supports the EDS initiative: “the EPP believes that know-how in societies is central to economic growth and job creation, so we must create the best conditions for transforming them into knowledge-based societies. To reach this fundamental objective of the EPP, we strongly support investments in research and innovation. Ultimately, the economic success of Europe will be determined by the extent of the financial commitments allocated to these pivotal sectors of the economy. Europe must become a knowledge economy.”

This campaign is EDS’ first Internet based campaign and consists of several online films and an online petition available at eds-knowledge.eu. With the petition, the EDS wants to reach out to young Europeans and thereby send a bold signal to Europe’s policy makers that young people in today’s Europe believe that we have to invest more in Europe’s future.

So sign the petition, like on Facebook an follow on Twitter!

EDS is the official Student Organisation of the European People’s Party.

Education Not Emigration

While watching the news tonight, my tune on the National March against the proposed increase in College fees changed. Some will call me, a mé féiner, but I think what the Government is proposing is idiotic.

Doubling the Registration Fee is stupid.

Cutting the Grant is stupid.

Placing a €500 fee on post leaving cert courses is stupid.

How are we supposed to afford an education in this county? Even a PLC?

We need to properly fund the education sector, but taxing students is not the way. Its time to look at other options. A graduate tax or other method that is fair and progressive needs to be be looked at. A student loan system would be as bad as this idea in my opinion.

So tell the government what you think.

March on November 3rd.

For more information see Educationnotemigration.ie

Check with your local Student Union about buses to the protest.

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Explaining the European Union to Students

Conseil de l'Europe
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Today I had the joy of joining members of the European Movement Ireland in part of their schools roadshow on the European Union. Today we visited Colaiste Mhuire in Crosshaven. Leading the show was Andrea Pappin, the Executive Director, and she was joined with by Billie Sparks, the Education and Advocacy Director. I stood quiet in the coner!

We were dealing with transition year students. Andrea started off the workshop by explaining about the history of the EU and the rights we have as EU citizens. She did all this in ordinary English!

Then the main part got under way. The class were split into four groups:

  • The European Commission
  • The European Parliament
  • Council of Ministers
  • Lobby Groups

The Council of Ministers were split between the French, Irish and Polish Delegations. The Lobby Groups were split into The Nuclear Energy Association, The Irish Gas Company, The Farmers Association of Ireland.

They were then, after watching a short video on Climate Change, tasked with drafting the EU’s Energy Policy. The Commission had to choose between which should compose the majority of the sources of Energy (Fossil, Renewable, Nuclear). Once they decided, it was sent to the Parliament who, after hearing from the Lobby Groups,  decided on the percentages for each type of energy. After that it was sent to the Council of Ministers who worked out any caveats and add ons to the law.

It was interesting to see how EU law was worked out in a simplified way. That is comparison to Conor’s experience at MEU!

The students seemed to have enjoyed it and I hope they learned from it. I know I did!

Well done to the European Movement for organising this. I hope more schools take them on this.

For more information of the European Movement, do check out their website. For more information on the Roadshows check out My Vision For Europe

Many thanks to the European Movement Ireland Team for allowing me to come along and experience this.

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A conferring levy?

corporate logo
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Received this via email this morning:

Student Outrage as UCC Impose Conferring Levy on Students- YFG

UCC students were left wondering if they were being hit by a bad April fool’s joke from college authorities last night following an email sent to all students informing them of a new €65 conferring fee to be introduced from April 1st.

The charge of €65 will apply to each student and their two guests choosing to attend their conferring ceremony. The email stated that any student who did not pay the required fee will be conferred In Absentia and will not be able to attend their graduation ceremony.

Massive student anger has erupted following this surprise announcement. UCC Young Fine Gael Chairperson, Robert O Sullivan stated “The introduction of this fee is disgraceful. In a year when UCC College registration fees have already increased to a massive €1,650, this fee cannot be justified and should be reserved. Students are already facing massive financial pressure and the idea of sneaking yet another charge onto students just as they finish is simply wrong and will be opposed strongly by students.”

Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Laura McGonigle supported YFG as she condemned this decision by UCC. “What other fees and charges will they make up next?”

Additional charges are needed to help the college get through this difficult period but students have already contributed enough towards this effort and a line must be drawn on what levies are necessary and which ones are simply unfair.

There is a Petition online if you wish to sign it. I wonder is this to pay for the Presidents trips?

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Abolishing NUI

National University of Ireland
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When I heard the news that Batt O’Keeffe was suggesting that that National University of Ireland be abolished, I initially thought it was a good idea. Then I stopped and thought about it and realised he must be reading from the same book that Enda was reading from!

Abolishing NUI is bad idea. Yes it will save money, but not a whole lot. The NUI serves some useful functions, and it would serve more if third level institutions were properly funded!

Todays Irish Times Editorial sets out some good reasons to why it shouldn’t be abolished, no matter what an Bord Snip Nua says. I cant help but agree!

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Argh Strikes!!!

So we were informed today in Class that our teachers are going on Strike next Tuesday. It turns out that teachers in Further Education Colleges, like Cork College of Commerce, are represented by the Teachers Union of Ireland, so they are going on strike for the day as they have handed notice into the VEC. They will be joining the other unions taking part in the National Strike on Tuesday 24th. Also clerical staff who’s union is one of the public service unions will be on strike. So it means no college for me on Tuesday.

Now this wouldn’t bother me much except next month I have two exemption exams in December which I must pass to get into 2nd Year of my course. One of these is in Criminal Law and on Tuesdays I have two classes of this subject and now I am missing out on it!! Its very annoying.

The announcement today brought me back to 2000/2001 and the ASTI teachers strike when I was doing my Junior Cert, now that didn’t bother me much back then, but now I am loosing out on a day when I could be doing projects on software I dont have at home, but have to use in college. Its fair annoying!

Unions seem to be out to get me!

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Getting rid of the Junior Cert?

Today’s Sunday Tribune has an article suggesting that the Junior Certificate exams could be “axed to save €30″. Is that really a good idea though?

While the Junior Cert isn’t really worth much on its own, it is a valuable testing ground for students and a practice for the Leaving Cert. I know the tests and that are shoter for the Junior Cert, but if we abolish it, students wouldnt have a clue what to expect going into the Leaving Cert.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has been sent off to a report, and it is due to report back before the end of the year. Will this report be implemented or will it be sidelined like all the others?

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