“only a complete recall of the affected models will restore market confidence…”

Irish University presidents have defended the standard of education in their colleges as the Dáil awaits details from the Irish Minister of Education, Batt O’Keeffe, of his department’s report on ‘grade inflation’ – as mentioned here. Interestingly the review was announced following a meeting between the Minister and representatives of a number of US multinational companies, including Google and Intel. Until the report is unveiled I’ll leave you with Frank McNally’s Irishman’s Diary

It is understood the problem involves both second- and third-level graduates, produced on a range of assembly lines between 1992 and 2004. All makes are potentially affected. But among those causing particular concern is the best-selling Maynooth first-class honours model, one of Ireland Inc’s recent success stories: production of which increased by 700 per cent during the boom years. The sporty, fast-talking UCC model, premium versions of which rose by 174 per cent during the same period, is also being investigated.

But safety fears are not confined to the company’s luxury products. The hybrid Institute-of-Technology diploma holder, a mainstay of the family and budget sectors of the market, is thought to be at risk too. And even the humble Leaving Cert graduate, still popular as an urban runabout, may now be suspect.

Update RTÉ reports that “The Minister for Education has said he is satisfied that grade inflation is not a problem at Leaving Certificate level and that proper controls are in place.” But the iol report notes that “A new university grades watchdog is being set up after US multinationals complained about the standard of Irish graduates”.

Mr O’Keeffe said there were a number of conflicting arguments as to why top university and third-level grades had increased over the past 10 years in Ireland, and internationally. These included a deliberate decision to align Irish standards with the UK and elsewhere, that students were better prepared and motivated or simply that grade increases were a result of a drop in standards. The minister refused to say what reasons he believed were behind the trend and would only insist it was a complex issue.