Does the ‘Celtic Tiger' society need to debate the role of higher education and the public good?
Calls for sustaining and increasing investment in higher education are often made on the basis that higher education is a ‘public good'. The idea of higher education as a public good is frequently conceptualised in terms of its contribution to economic development. If more people participate in higher education then society as a whole will benefit. Outside of the economic benefits of higher education there is less debate as to what is meant by ‘public good' in the context of higher education. This article explores higher education as a public good and its role in realising the public good . With particular reference to Ireland, the article also looks at the impact of conceptualising the public good role of higher education from an economic perspective and what this implies for students, higher education institutions and society. Since the 1990s Ireland has experienced rapid economic growth, with its thriving economy popularly dubbed ‘the Celtic Tiger'.
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