So another day goes by that a so-called Irish Entrepreneur who has made millions of Euro here has a go at third-level Colleges in this country. Jerry Kennelly, founder of Tweak.com, says in an article reported by The Journal that There are too many second-rate colleges in Ireland with ‘Mickey Mouse courses'.
|Dr Jerry Kenelly.|
Image Source: Tweak.com.
Now Dr Kennelly (he has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Limerick) is of course entitled to his opinion. There are many who probably agree with him.
Despite his negative attitude towards our courses in our Colleges, which didn't prevent him from accepting the UL doctorate or a fellowship from IT Tralee, he thunders that the Colleges themselves "are set up for the benefit of academics". Wow - I didn't know that!
I don't agree with this either (but then I wouldn't since I am an "academic"). On what basis does he spout this nonsense?
He also says that the Colleges "have a lot of courses that are absolutely useless", and further comments that courses are a "waste of peoples’ time and energy". Strong stuff indeed. Kennelly complains that he cannot hire Irish people and that he has to "employ people in Stockholm, Lisbon and Hyderabad to get the job done, to find the qualified people". Presumably Swedish, Portuguese, and Indian Colleges don't have "Mickey Mouse courses"? So what does Dr Kennelly do about this? He turns at an easy target (third-level Colleges), and blames us for his woes. Does he actually understand what he is saying when he states that "there’s an absolute disconnection between education and the real world"? Maybe he should join one of our Industry Panels that we have to put all our new programmes through to ensure we provide courses that Industry wants?
So Jerry - I challenge you to name the "second-rate" Colleges that are causing you angst? What are the "Mickey Mouse" courses that you are referring to? Which degrees "aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on"?
Third level Colleges' first duty is to provide education to our students. Indeed the mission of my own institution (National College of Ireland), is "To change lives through education". Later this week it is Graduation Day in NCI. I and my colleagues will see our graduates proudly accept their degrees - their lives will have been changed by their achievements. I dare Jerry Kennelly to stand on the stage at our graduation ceremony (or indeed at any other College Graduation) and tell our students that they have just wasted their last three or four years in a second-rate College doing a Mickey Mouse course. Jaysus!
(Amended to remove some language)