From the BBC Danny Kennedy is considering his options:
He added: “As I have said in the Assembly, I want a ‘made in Northern Ireland’ approach to student fees. What is done in London and Cardiff undoubtedly holds lessons for us, but the point of devolution is to devise local solutions.”
Interestingly he highlights the brain drain effect:
However, Mr Kennedy said the situation in Wales differs from Northern Ireland in the sense that it “imports” a lot of students, while Northern Ireland is an “exporter”.
Today’s Belfast Telegraph has an editorial:
Northern Ireland’s devolved administration should, at least, follow the lead of Wales. Local politicians have an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of young people by making third level education affordable to all. That is an investment in the future and should be grasped with both hands.
One of the big challenges facing the Executive in the coming years is reshaping, or rebalancing, the economy, encouraging entrepreneurs, attracting inward investment and ending the over-dependence on the public sector.
To stand any chance of achieving those aims, its needs a young, skilled, well-educated workforce and it needs to encourage young people to stay in Northern Ireland to begin their careers.
I’m not sure the Welsh example will encourage young people to stay in Northern Ireland. Mr Kennedy’s decision will be interesting to say the least.