Having taken a look through both Fine Gael and Sinn Féin's plans for third-level education in their policy documents over the past couple of days, today it is the turn of Fianna Fáil's "An Ireland for all" document.
|Image Source: Irish Election Literature.|
I first reaction that I am not too impressed. So much of what they want to do - improve access, provide more resources for teachers and students with difficulties, re-introduce post-graduate grants, are also policies for other parties. Fianna Fáil do say they will freeze the student contribution "fee". They also say that they will "Raise Higher Education funding and standards" - to this they will provide €100 million for "current funding to Higher Education institutions". Given that there are over 40 Higher Education Institutions, that a bargain!
Perhaps the stand out policy for me is that Fianna Fáil will "Explore the roll out of an income contingent loan system to assist students and parents with costs". Student loans are thorny subjects in other countries, and can land students in debt for many years after they graduate. The commitment is to just "explore" - so we'll have to see how this will develop.
I suppose a political party has to have a manifesto, but the election will surely result in a hung Dáil followed by negotiations on policy with other parties. Basically, FF, FG, and SF can say what they like.
Tomorrow I'll see what Labour propose for third-level education.