Uni Grade 'Inflation 100%' Claims Study

The number of first-class honours degrees awarded by Irish universities has increased by over 100% since 1994, according to leaked study.

The internal study compiled for the University Council at Trinity College shows the rate of 'grade inflation' over the past 15 years that has sparked reactions of concern from the Opposition political parties.

The Labour Party's spokesperson on Education and Science Minister Ruari Quinn said today he had raised the matter in the Dáil before Christmas with the Minister.

"There is a lot of rhetoric from the government about developing a 'knowledge economy', but the reality is that our education system has never been so underfunded and in need of overdue reform. Grade inflation is merely a symptom of a wider problem in our education system."

Yesterday, Minister for Education and Science Batt O'Keeffe said the results of a review into Leaving Certificate grades and third level qualifications could be published by the end of the week.

Minister O'Keeffe announced the publication date of the so called 'grade inflation' report after meeting with senior representatives from the multinational sector.

The Education Minister went on to say there had been a serious increase in grades over the past ten years and there was also a general perception that there was quite a significant increase in the number of first class honours qualifications being awarded by the third level sector.

Labour's Rauri Quinnn pointed to a recent OECD report, which showed Ireland ranked 30th out of 34 countries in terms of education expenditure as a percentage of GDP.

"We need to move towards a consensus on education expenditure, even during the current economic difficulties. The Labour Party is of the view that 7.0% of GDP should be spent on education over the coming years," Mr Quinn said.

He added: "Our education system has not been helped by recent budgets, which have cut supports for our students. It is alarming when some of the largest employers in this country are concerned about the quality of our education system."


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