An article in today’s Irish Times reflects on the failure of any Irish institution to make the 2012 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Five years ago, Trinity College Dublin was ranked within the top 50, and University College Dublin was within the top 100. Today – look out below. Both have fallen off the radar.

A wake up call for the bureaucrats. Not a single Irish university makes the list of top international schools.

For a country with such an illustrious literary and educational tradition (didn’t Ireland keep the fires of knowledge going in some monastery off the west coast while Europe slogged through the Dark Ages?), this should be received as a major scandal. However, no one who has seen the inside of an Irish university classroom lately will be surprised by this news.

I came to Ireland in September 2011 to pursue a one year masters in theatre at Trinity College Dublin. My thinking went, for studying Irish theatre, there could be no better place to go than the “Harvard of Ireland”, right? I could not have been more wrong. What I found at Trinity was a rag tag program that felt more like a bad high school course. The organization, teaching, and facilities were appalling. After several weeks I withdrew from the course. I was the third of 11 students in the course to withdraw over quality issues this year.

Sad to see the education system cratering, but I’m glad that the rankings are shining a light on the situation. As with all the Catholic church scandals, the only language the Irish authorities seem to understand is public exposure.

Until that happens, no changes will be made.

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