Thursday, 16 May 1991
Seanad Éireann Debate
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Mr. Calleary): The Bill before the House gives effect to an agreement signed in Dublin on 27 October 1988 between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United States of America to expand the programme of educational exchanges between the two countries.
This agreement arose from a commitment by former President Reagan during his visit to Ireland in 1984 to increase the level of academic exchanges between Ireland and the United States and to allocate additional American  funding for this purpose under the Fulbright Hays Act of the US Congress. The new agreement replaces the original agreement on academic exchanges with the United States, signed on 16 March 1957, which brought Ireland into what has generally become known as the “Fulbright Programme”.
The Fulbright Programme is named after former Senator J. William Fulbright, who introduced into the US Congress the original legislation for the programme —”the Fulbright Act”— which was signed into law on 1 August 1946. Currently the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 provides the legislative authority for the programme, which aims “to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries”. Toward this end, grants are made to US citizens and nationals of other countries for university lecturing, advanced research, and graduate study.
The programme is administered in the United States by the United States Information Agency (USIA) with the assistance of the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) and the Institute for International Education (IIE). The Board of Foreign Scholarships, composed of 12 educational and public leaders appointed by the President of the United States, selects all Fulbright grantees and establishes the policies and procedures for the programme.
In 1957, on the basis of our initial agreement with the United States for academic exchanges, the Scholarship Exchange (Ireland and the United States of America) Act was passed, providing for the establishment here of a Scholarship Exchange Board to administer the exchanges with the United States and the setting up of a Scholarship Exchange Fund to finance them. Currently academic exchanges with the United States are administered within these structures.
 The Scholarship Exchange Board consists of seven members, four appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and three by the United States Ambassador to Ireland. The chairman of the board is appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs who also provides the board's secretariat and accommodation.
The Scholarship Exchange Fund was set up with a capital sum of £500,000 taken from the American Grant Counterpart Fund of approximately US$18 million which the United States provided to Ireland in 1948. This sum of £500,000 has been invested in securities by successive Ministers for Finance, the annual income being used to fund the academic exchanges.
At this point I should like again to avail of the opportunity to formally congratulate the members of the Scholarship Exchange Board — American and Irish, past and present — for the excellent manner in which they have discharged their duties over the years.
However, in order to avail of the additional Fulbright funds being offered by the United States, it is necessary to replace the Scholarship Exchange Board and Fund by new structures, along the lines of the bi-national Fulbright structures which operate in other countries. It is, therefore, proposed to establish a new Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange and a new Ireland-United States Educational Fund.
The purpose of the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange will be to increase educational exchanges, which are such important agents of cultural interchange, between our countries. The functions of the new commission will be to encourage studies, research, instruction and other educational activities for the benefit of citizens of both countries; to develop and encourage exchanges of students, research scholars and teachers; and to encourage other related educational and cultural programmes and activities.
The commission will be larger and more autonomous in management and administration than the Scholarship Exchange Board. It will have eight  members, four appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and four appointed by the United States Ambassador. In order to provide continuity, the present Chairman of the Scholarship Exchange Board will serve as the first Chairman of the Commission. Thereafer the chairman will be elected by commission members. Other office holders such as the deputy chairman, treasurer and assistant treasurer will be elected at the first meeting of the new commission from among its members. The commission will be empowered to provide its own accommodation and secretariat, by acquiring property and engaging an executive director and administrative staff.
Detailed provisions are set out in sections 8 to 14 of the Bill before the House with regard to the new commission's obligations, commitments and expenditure as well as meetings and procedures, staff and expenses.
The activities of the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange will be financed by income from the Ireland-United States Educational Fund. This new fund will replace the Scholarship Exchange Fund, which will be wound up. At present the capital sum in the fund is in the region of £533,000. Upon the winding up of the Scholarship Exchange Fund the money available will be transferred to the credit of the new Ireland-United States Educational Fund and the annual income from investments of these moneys will again be used to fund the exchanges. However, in addition the commission will receive direct dollar appropriations voted by the United States Congress. In this regard, since the 1984 announcement, and pending the establishment of the new commission, an annual sum of approximately US $ 127,000 has been provided by the United States and administered on an ad hoc bases by the Scholarship Exchange Board. This allocation is expected to be increased once the commission has been established.
Ireland has benefited since 1957 from its participation in the unique and prestigious Fulbright Programme. In the period 1957 to date nearly 800 persons  from Ireland have been awarded grants to pursue further university study, to engage in advance research, to participate in teaching or educational seminar work in universities or simply to gain practical experience and training in the United States. Many of these grantees, have returned to eminent positions in Ireland, in all spheres of responsibility both in the private and the public sectors, applying the invaluable experience and training which they have acquired. In the same period almost 300 US citizens have been awarded grants for research and lecturing in Ireland and have contributed immensely to the work of our own universities and third level institutions.
We are privileged to have been able to participate in this programme from an early date and to have the opportunity now by virtue of the additional funding being generously offered by the United States to further develop the educational exchanges between our two countries.
As I mentioned at the outset, the provisions of this Bill are based on the international agreement signed between Ireland and the United States to expand our exchanges within the context of the Fulbright Programme. The Agreement itself reflects the policies and procedures which have been gradually developed by the United States down through the years to yet further refine and improve this programme, into the excellent vehicle it is today, for the fostering of educational and cultural links on a global basis.
In accepting this Bill the House can be confident not only of helping to further cement the close ties of friendship and understanding which exist between Ireland and the United States but also of offering to our students and educational institutions a most valuable opportunity for the further broadening of intellectual and cultural horizons by expanded participation in the Fulbright Programme, whose traditional commitment to excellence in educational and cultural exchange is recognised and lauded worldwide.
Mr. McDonald: On behalf of my Fine Gael colleagues I warmly welcome this Bill which gives statutory effect to the agreement signed between the Government of the United States and the Irish Government some three years ago. More significantly, it heralds an improvement and an expansion on the legislation governing the scholarship exchange programme that has been in operation in this country since 1957. There is no doubt that that programme has had beneficial effects on many industries, educational establishments and hundreds of people who were lucky enough to participate in the scheme.
The Bill gives Irish citizens — academics, students or graduates — an opportunity to travel to America and learn something of the tremendous developments in American scholarship and technology but the American people who participate in this exchange programme have the opportunity of learning from our Irish culture and our Irish tradition. The high standards attained in our third level educational institutions must surely benefit people from the United States who come over and want to see something of our long tradition and culture and the approach the Irish people take to many problems technical, cultural and traditional.
This legislation is yet another indication of the special generosity of the American people. We have had a long tradition of co-operation and help with the United States for many generations. Our people have looked westwards in hope and this country has benefited significantly from our close association with the United States.
I would like to compliment the Minister on his very full and precise explanation of this legislation to the House this morning, but I would like to ask him about the amount of funds that stand to be transferred from the existing scholarship exchange programme which was endowed in 1957 and how much can be transferred under section 6 of this Bill to this new scholarship exchange fund. Has the Minister any figures on the numbers of people who have been lucky enough to  participate in the programme just ending and what has been the approximate average cost of participation in the fund over the years?
There are a large number of areas where this kind of educational exchange programme is extremely important and I hope we will be in a position to ensure the maximum expansion of this scheme. It is important as we near 1 January 1993 that Irish management should be in a position to face the challenges we anticipate for our trade and commerce in the decade ahead. It must be useful for young graduates, people in management, people in industry and people in education to have an opportunity of seeing exactly what the situation is in the United States which, of course, is one of the big players whether in commerce or industry on the world scene.
I hope the Government will encourage the widest possible participation and that the contribution from the Government to this fund will be realistic, to endeavour to get to the people who will be the decision-makers in the next ten years and expose them to the kind of competition our companies will be facing in the crucial years ahead when we will be faced for the first time in recent years to very strict competition. We must avail of this generosity from the US to ensure that we are able to equip our people, especially our decision-makers, with the kind of information, to enable our companies to compete in the open economy from 1 January 1993.
The Minister kindly circulated the agreement which was signed three years ago. The only criticism — if it could be described as such — I would have the original measure, in retrospect, is the fact that it was endowed and did not expand to meet the great demand that must have been there. Perhaps the Minister might have figures on how many applicants have been refused facilities under the 1957 legislation? It is important for people to see and experience the high technology and the new developments in the United States.
I am happy to have the opportunity to pay a small tribute to the people of the United States and their Government, not  just for introducing but for reorganising this scheme. I have met many people who have benefited from the old scholarship exchange programme. We can now see it being even better funded and I hope the Minister for Finance will ensure that practically every applicant will be accommodated.
I understand the Department of Foreign Affairs have operated the old system for the past 30 years. I would ask the Minister if it would not be better if the Department of Education were to administer this fund. I note from the Bill the commission have autonomous powers but I hope there will be close co-operation between them, the Department of Education and the Department of Labour who are taking an ever closer hold on education through their participation in the FÁS schemes and the various training and retraining programmes. I urge close co-operation so that we can offer our young graduates, and to our teachers and professors every opportunity to equip themselves more fully for the important tasks they have undertaken in their careers in the service of our young population. I welcome the Bill and wish it a speedy passage.
Mr. Lanigan: I welcome this Bill to the Seanad. I am glad it gives statutory powers to the new Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange. It changes over from the system that has evolved since the visit by President Reagan whereby funds were transferred on an ad hoc basis but without any statutory powers to do so. The United States Government sent over money each year but in actual fact it will not be until this Bill goes through that that money will come as a result of an agreement signed by the two governments.
There is no doubt that since William Fulbright set up his scheme of student exchanges throughout the world in 1946 the Fulbright scholarships have been of immense benefit to the relationship existing between the United States and countries throughout the world. Fulbright was a far-seeing man. The war was a catalyst for this scheme because pre-war America  was very inward-looking. After the Second World War they began to realise that if they were to be more outward-looking they would have to have cultural, social and educational exchanges with other countries. Fulbright must be complimented on his thoughtfulness in bringing this Act through the United States Congress.
The exchange programme between the United States and Ireland has been eminently successful. If one looks at educational establishments in Ireland, the United States and elsewhere, one will see that Fulbright scholars have taken their place in the academic world, in commerce, and in Government. The expertise they gained by being able to take part in exchange scholarships has been of immense benefit to them. In United States colleges Irish academics have taken their place at the very highest level, whether at the MIT, Stanford, or elsewhere. If one goes through the boards of management even of some of these colleges one will see that Irish Fulbright scholars are among those on the boards.
It is stated that 800 Irish people have taken part in the exchanges since the foundation of the fund and that about 300 United States scholars have come here. However, what has not been stated in the Minister's speech or in the memorandum is the ratio between Irish scholars going to the United States and American scholars coming here. It seems to me the ratio is going to get into imbalance because of the difference in the cost of education here and in the United States. The cost of putting pupils through college in the United States, whether at post-graduate or under-graduate level, is enormous. I am not too sure whether under the Fulbright Programme scholars have to pay the full amount a student would have to pay in the American colleges. I suggest it is probably ten times more expensive to put a student through an American college than it is through an Irish college. There is bound to be an imbalance there and it appears that on current costings there would be many more American students able to participate here than in the United States.  Of course, if it is a direct one-for-one exchange there should be an equal number, but I am not sure exactly whether it is a one-for-one exchange.
In regard to members of the commission, I think it states that during the first two years the outgoing chairman of the previous scholarship exchange board will act as chairman of the commission and that after two years a new chairman will be elected. I would like to have it clarified if he is to be elected from among the members of the actual commission. There is a seven member commission at present which means that if there is a vote you have a reasonable chance of getting a result rather than now when it is going to four and four. I would have thought that an odd number would be better for this new commission rather than four and four.
I do not know who the three members are who have been selected over the years by the United States side, but I know that from the Irish side there were very eminent professors, academics, who would obviously be au fait with the educational standards that would be needed for somebody to take a full part in the Fulbright programme. I see that under the new agreement at least two members of the new commission will be from the US foreign service establishment in Ireland. This would mean that at least two members of the staff of the United States Embassy will be members of the commission. I am not too sure what academic qualifications members of the United States foreign service have but, but I suggest that it may not be that they would be of such high academic standards that they would be able to adjudicate on Irish students who might be applying to go to the United States. I feel that may not be the right way to go about the appointment of members of the commission from the United States side. I am not criticising members of the United States foreign service here in Ireland but I feel that, if we have, as we had in the past, fully fledged academics on the Irish side, they should be matched by fully  fledged academics from the American side.
On the question of section 12 which deals with contributions to the commission, that is an excellent change in that funds can be got from outside the funding that will come through the Governments on either side. Perhaps some of the people who have in the past taken part in the Fulbright Programme and who have been very successful in business or in commerce may be enabled to make endowments which would be of enormous benefit to the funding of the new commission. We know that in the United States hardly a university would be able to exist without endowments from former students. We could make a plea here that former participants in the Fulbright Programme be allowed to contribute to the work of the commission and ensure that there will be adequate funding for the commission over the next number of years, because education is now becoming extremely expensive.
I know that the United States have been giving on an ad hoc basis a sum of £127,000 per year for the past number of years and that they have agreed that that should be increased. I hope that amount will be increased substantially because it is of enormous benefit to the United States. The £500,000 put in initially in 1957 gives a reasonable amount in terms of the interest payable, but nevertheless the interest on £500,000 invested in Government funds is not going to yield much more than between £55,000 and £60,000 maximum. Those sums are not adequate and from the Irish side we might top up that £500,000. This would be of immense benefit to Ireland in the future.
Looking at the boards of the NBA programme and the NBS programme we find that quite a number of the people involved in running masters programmes in colleges in Ireland at present are former Fulbright scholars. They have benefited and Ireland is benefiting because of that. It is of immense importance, therefore, that we increase the amount available from the £500,000 initially put in.
I saw recently that an Irish educated  girl in the US who was involved in very detailed studies on a post-graduate basis in MIT found out that her immediate superiors on the programme had been working on a false premise and consequently were producing false returns. She was sacked from the programme and it took five or six years for her to get a job in MIT. It shows that Irish people going to the US are educated to a level that they are able to take on the best academics in the United States.
This educational programme, which was fostered first by Fulbright, has been of enormous benefit and will continue to be of enormous benefit to both countries. I hope that in the future we will see an expansion of this type of educational exchange between countries, not alone the United States but with other countries which have different backgrounds. I hope we may have exchanges with eastern Europe and with countries of the Third World; enormous benefits could derive to the Third World and indeed to our own State if these exchanges took place.
As an organisation established for charitable purposes, the commission will be exempt from income tax and capital gains tax in relation to income and/or gains applied for charitable purposes. Transfers and leases of land made for charitable purposes will be exempt from stamp duty. Inheritance applied for public or charitable purposes shall be exempt from inheritance tax.
If an individual were to endow this commission, would he or she be exempted from tax? It is important that that should be clarified. It is suggested in section 12 that contributions from outside Government sources will be acceptable but it only mentions inheritance and transferring leases of land. If an individual should endow this commission he should equally be exempt from whatever taxation might be due as a result of that endowment.
Professor Raftery: Like the previous speakers I, too, would like to welcome this Bill. Anything that can help to foster increased exchange of students and academics should be very welcome particularly in an island and an almost insular country as we are. We have benefited enormously from it, as previous speakers have said. Roughly 800 academics and students have visited the United States and have gained from that experience. They are now working in almost every aspect of our lives — in universities, research institutes, in the Department of Agriculture and Food, the Department of Health and so on. It is, therefore, to our benefit and we should welcome, as I said, anything that will increase and foster these exchanges.
I am surprised that nowhere in the Bill is the name Fulbright mentioned. Fulbright scholars enjoy a world status and standing. I would like to see Fulbright mentioned in the Bill; and, as one who availed of money from the counterpart fund to travel, I would like to enjoy the status of being regarded as a Fulbright scholar. However, I have to say that while I availed of the grant I did something rather unusual at the time. I requested that I be allowed to use the money to study in Europe rather than in the United States. That was before we applied for European Community membership. I felt what I could learn there would be more appropriate to our situation. That is not in any way to criticise the US, where I have been many times since. I just felt that it was more appropriate for what I wanted to do at the time and it was very generously agreed to.
Since then I have been in academic life for more than 30 years. Many of my past students have gone abroad to study in various universities and research institutes in the US. The general experience has been that Irish graduates at primary degree level are equal to, and in most cases superior to, the best they have  to offer in the US. It is only at the post-graduate level that the United States students come into their own, largely because of the huge resources they have by comparison with Irish post-graduate students studying here. But we can take pride in the fact that, despite the very low cost by international standards of the production of our graduates, they are equal to the best the US can offer. The US is quite conscious of this and their colleges are very often actively canvassing post-graduate students from Ireland.
I made the point that we have benefited enormously from this programme. It is equally true, and perhaps even more true, to say that the US, whether it was intended to do so or not, has also benefited enormously from foreign students. Today US research in their research institutes and universities could hardly survive without the huge numbers of foreign students and academics. In the early years of this programme it was dominated by European students and academics. Today in the United States their post-graduate schools, as far as foreigners are concerned, are dominated by Asians, particularly from the Pacific rim but also from India and Pakistan.
A problem for poor countries, particularly Third World countries who send very bright students to the United States, is that they are very reluctant to return home. It is causing a serious brain drain for the poorer countries and, indeed, even for a country like Ireland. I have to confess that I suffer from this myself. My son-in-law and only daughter live in the United States as a direct result of this brain drain. While I am very pleased that they enjoy an excellent standard of living, one that they could not possibly afford in Ireland — they are doing very well there and all that — it is a strain on a family to have their loved ones so far away, although modern travel makes it much easier. But people from Third World countries who decide to stay in the US and are offered good jobs cannot get home to their loved ones as easily as people can get home to Ireland. Indeed,  these Third World countries have a greater need for the brain power that is creamed off and stays in the US. I do not want to criticise the US for this. I am merely making the point that while it offers opportunity there is a cost involved for poor countries that avail of it. We, as I said, have benefited enormously from it. On balance, despite the fact that many of our people stay there, I am totally in favour of it and I wish to see it expanded.
I wish to know to whom does the board report? There is no mention made of reporting to the Dáil or the Seanad. It probably reports to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Like my colleague, Senator McDonald, I think it would be more appropriate now for this commission to be attached to the Department of Education rather than the Department of Foreign Affairs. I can understand the historical reasons for having it in the first instance attached to Foreign Affairs, but today it would appear to be more appropriate to be attached to the Department of Education.
There is little else I want to say on the issue other than to point out that for a relatively poor country like Ireland, in a peripheral area, depending upon exports for its wealth, it must depend, I believe, on the production of low volume, high value products — in other words, hi-tech products. That is all the more reason why we should encourage exchange of students and academics with the US. The US strength is in science and technology. Having said that, I would like to see the balance a little more the other way — in other words, I would like to see more people coming from the US. The ratio at present is more than 2:1 in our favour. While we are not in the same league as the US in terms of science and technology and resources in that area, I am sure we can claim to be quite strong in the area of culture, the arts, and so on. No doubt subsequent speakers will talk about that.
We certainly could do more to attract scholars here, particularly scholars of literature. Given our extraordinary record for a small country whose first language is Irish, we have produced, I  think, in this city more Nobel Prize winners in the English language than probably any other city in the world. Perhaps Senator Norris, who will be talking after me, might like to enlarge on that or contradict me; but I certainly would welcome a move on our part to attract more Americans to come here and to study here. We could provide, as it were, more of a service-type industry in that regard.
I will not delay the House. I am sure there are other speakers anxious to get in. I welcome this Bill and I look forward to it giving us even more benefits than the scholarship exchange scheme gave us in the past.
Mr. McGowan: I am very supportive of this new Bill. It formalises the exchange of students between Ireland and the US that started without funding and recognition. It has been a very natural development. I am pleased to tell the Minister that my county has been very much involved as the regional college in Letterkenny has exchanged 20 students with Pittsburg in the US. I was one of those from the board of management of the college who went out to Pittsburg to see the success of the scheme and progress by our students there. I can tell the House and the Minister that the results from that student exchange have been excellent. It has been so successful that part of the course for the students placed in America was extended to include the completion of the practical, hands-on side of the course with industry. The industrialists with whom the students from Donegal were placed were so delighted they decided to organise a trip to Donegal to investigate the students' background, to meet the parents and the head of the college and to further develop the student exchange programme. The scheme has been such a fantastic success that this year we have 20 students coming from America to Donegal. We are boarding them in the hotel and catering college at Killybegs.
I am delighted with the introduction of this legislation. It will be a tremendous help and encouragement. We could sit back and be negative about our approach  and say it is said to see our young students going away but communications and travel are now very rapid. We have to give our students the best possible knowledge of the world and of world affairs. Certainly, America is a world leader in technology. It is a great experience for students to go there. It broadens their outlook; it helps their development. We will have better people and better students when the exchange programme is fully developed.
I hope that, along with the provision and support for the exchange of students, we will also have recognised diplomas. I hope that under this legislation there would be a section within the Department to administer the granting of credits and diplomas and that students would be encouraged to look at that as a possibility for their further education. I see this as very encouraging development. The Minister present comes from the west. The young people of his area and of Donegal have not had this opportunity of broadening their knowledge and this is now a welcome possibility. I hope that when the students and the head of the colleges come to Ireland in the near future they will meet the Minister of State, Deputy Calleary. We had the head of one of the colleges in Pittsburg in here last week and I was pleased to introduce him to the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad and to the Minister for Education. He was delighted and pleased. All in all, there is a lot of goodwill.
It was a great honour for me to go to America and see the work on the ground because down the years we were exporting our people, especially from rural Ireland, to do very unattractive jobs in America, England and all over the world. I felt, as other Irish people would feel, that it was great to see our students bringing the best of Ireland to the centre of the technology world in America. It was a marvellous change and a great opportunity for our young people. They fully understood the value of what they were getting.
While this Bill provides for the exchange of students with the United Statges of America — and I fully support  that — we have to be aware of the value of exchanging students with Germany and all other European countries. We have go give that a high priority and encourage our students to go to those countries. As a result they will then see the value of our own country and the possibilities that are here in Ireland.
I strongly believe that part of our unemployment problem here stems from the fact that the people who are in a position to provide jobs and to start up industry have never had the opportunity of seeing Ireland from a distance. All too often we see people coming here from a poor background; they see opportunities in Ireland, start up industries here and do very well. The new legislation is a very commendable development by the Government and the Minister. I hope it is the first step to a great new organisation that will support and encourage students to go abroad. By introducing the legislation the Department show that they also are aware of the potential here. I commend the Bill. I look forward to its success in providing opportunity, support and encouragement for many students who would not have thought of going on a student exchange programme in the past.
Mr. Norris: I would like, first, to give a cordial welcome to this Bill which confirms the situation that has existed for a number of years. In fact, in terms of my own college, Trinity College, Dublin, we can claim a particularly early involvement in third level education in the United States of America. You, Sir, as a distinguished academic and Senator Raftery will, I am sure, recall that one of our graduates, Bishop Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, who was a very distinguished philosopher, travelled to the United States of America and it is in recognition of Bishop Berkeley that the University of California — Berkeley, as they call it, giving it a slightly different pronunciation — was established. That was in the 17th century and there has been a very profitable exchange intellectually between the two parts of the world. We were joined,  although sometimes people humorously suggested separated, by sharing a common language. We have common traditions and similar educational institutions. Professor Raftery spoke about his own experiences under the Fulbright system and I join with him in hoping that the trail-breaking work of Senator William Fulbright will not go entirely unrecognised or unacknowledged in discussions of this Bill because it was very important.
I have just returned from the United States where I was lecturing in Chicago, in the University of Madison, in Wisconsin, in addition to speaking at the American Convention on Irish Studies. There is considerable interest in Ireland and in Irish matters, literary, cultural and historical. It is a matter of sadness to me that my distinguished colleague on these benches Professor Murphy who was with me in Madison, Wisconsin, for procedural reasons is unable to speak on this Bill. I know he had prepared quite a lot to say and is well known in the United States as a brillant lecturer and as a congenial companion at academic gatherings.
I have lectured in most parts of the United States and one of the things that gives me great pride is the extraordinary degree of participation by people of Irish origin and educational background at the highest levels of third level education in the United States. It is a matter of considerable pride to go to any arts department — I have lectured in both arts and law departments — and meet there a considerable preponderance of people with an Irish educational background.
Senator McGowan spoke about the European dimension and I am sure he is aware of the important Erasmus programme in that developing area which takes in all European countries. I have had the privilege of teaching students from European countries, many of them very gifted although there is sometimes a slight problem of language but that situation is certainly improving. We are living in a shrinking world. It is important  that our students have contact with students from other backgrounds because university education does not depend only on the strict academic programme but also on contact with people from other cultures and backgrounds with differing views and opinions.
This measure is governed principally by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act, 1961. The Minister in his introduction indicated that the principal and laudable aims of that Act are to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Further work needs to be done in this area.
I do not wish to be difficult, controversial, niggling or pedantic but I am sure the Minister is aware that considerable difficulties exist in the area of third level education because of the total lack of comprehension in the American system for the Irish university system. Professor Raftery was correct when he said our graduates at primary degree level are the equal of, and in many cases superior to, the equivalent product in the United States of America but is this understood in the United States? The Minister may be aware of the difficulties in this area but, without being too technical or difficult, I would like to put them on the record. As a university representative I am continuously made aware of the difficulties encountered by our graduates in the United States of America because the Americans simply do not understand our educational system. I hope this institution will look into the difficulties here which are the product of misunderstandings.
Among these discrepancies is the fact that the United States only recognises 11 of the 13 years of Irish schooling prior to university enrolment. Contrary to the United States belief, an Irish student is expected and required to spend eight years in national school and at least five, but generally six, years in secondary school, totalling 13 to 14 years of pre-university schooling. The total years of Irish schooling outnumber considerably the number of years under the American  system, yet, the official United States attitude does not recognise this. Since the beginning of the 1980s, because of the enormous proliferation of university institutions in America, it has been decided to centralise and co-ordinate the evaluation of foreign degrees. This is done in a clumsy way with considerable disadvantage for Irish students.
A statement from the educational credential evaluation who evaluate our degrees states that no three year university first degree programme in the world is the equivalent of a bachelor' degree programme in the United States unless it requires completion of 13 or more years of primary secondary education for admission. The attitude is: “We do not recognise as the equivalent of a bachelor's degree programme in the United States three year university programmes in Australia, Canada, outside of Quebec, Ireland, Israel, South Africa or any other country where 12 or fewer years of primary/secondary are required for admission.” Most degree courses, certainly in the Arts, in the Colleges of the National University of Ireland, and three year courses. They are fine courses and their graduates are the equivalent of any graduates of the United States of America. These evaluators say, however, that they link Irish graduates with those of Israel and Canada, outside of Quebec, and so on because they do not have more than 12 pre-third level secondary schooling years, because they evaluate them differently. We have 13 or 14 pre-third level schooling years. It is a question of mutual understanding and I am glad that part of the legal framework of this Bill speaks about mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries which must be looked at.
Mr. Norris: The document is a correspondence I received from Educational  Evaluators Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, giving what they deem to be the legal requirements in the United States as they interpret them, and they are the interpreting body for a particular area of the United States. A number of these bodies has been set up on a regional basis.
That is the first and major problem. I have a long, voluminous correspondence containing about 18 points, but I am going to make two principal points. There is a misunderstanding of our degrees. The Higher Diploma in Education is not recognised in the United States as a post-graduate degree of any kind but is treated with contempt. It is not recognised that in order to take part in that programme in Trinity College, Dublin, one has to complete a full four year degree course.
There is a problem with the way in which the numbers of secondary school years are totalled, with the recognition of the Higher Diploma in Education and there is a difference in our attitudes towards numerical marking schemes. For example, in the Irish system, a mark of 70 per cent, certainly in the arts, is a very considerable achievement and puts one into the first rank. It is a first degree mark. In the United States this is not the case. I came across this discrepancy in marking papers for American students. I would give an American 70 per cent, and I am rather a stingy marker. I had the experience of an American student, to whom I thought I had given an astronomical mark, coming to me in floods of tears saying: “Professor Norris, what have I done wrong?” I said “You have done very well indeed. She said: “Why did you give me only 70 per cent?” I said: “Only 70?”. This is a real problem. In Ireland 70 per cent reflects an A mark and in the United States 70 per cent reflects average work and would be represented by a C. There are all sorts of differences between arithmetical and notional marking systems but a university department would be the place to explore those rather than the floor of Seanad Éireann. A student can get a very high mark in terms of the Irish university system, have that on his or her record, present it in the United  States and find that it is not satisfactory. That is a question of mutual understanding.
I raised these questions last year because two former students of mine approached me about it. As the Acting Chairman and the Minister will realise, university graduates are my constituents, so I take a keen interest in them, politically as well as educationally. I raised this matter with the Minister for Education and there was some shuffling around as to whether it came under the ambit of the Department of Education or the Department of Foreign Affairs. After the initial holding letter, which I am sure is common to every Department: “Dear Senator,... I am having inquiries made and will reply to you in detail as soon as possible...”, I got the following letter on 31 January 1991:
I refer again to your letter of the 30th November, 1990, regarding the recognition of Irish degrees in the United States. It would be difficult to solve this problem on a unilateral basis without seeking to enter into some form of general arrangements on the reciprocal recognition of academic qualifications between Ireland and the United States. In view of the complexity of the educational system there and the variety and standard of qualifications available, I have no plans at present to seek to introduce such general arrangements.
That is an honest answer but it does acknowledge a real problem lying at the heart of what we are doing here, because there cannot be proper beneficial exchange between two partners, the United States of America and the Republic of Ireland, unless we understand each other's system and unless there is proper mutual recognition of our degrees and attainments. Therefore, I  ask the Minister if this matter can be addressed. I raise it in general terms under this Educational Exchange (Ireland and the United States of America) Bill but some further investigation may be necessary and the opportunity that presented itself this morning to me to raise this matter may mean that the Department of Foreign Affairs, in conjunction with the Department of Education, could investigate this further and examine the problem.
Other problems are related to this, among them the question of the status of people doing medical research in the United States. I have a correspondence about that as well because of the visa requirements for people doing post-graduate research in the area of medicine. This issue is not, perhaps, directly relevant to this morning's work, but perhaps I can draw the Minister's attention to it. I raised it with the Minister for Education and was directed to the Department of Foreign Affairs. I have a correspondence with the Department of Foreign Affairs in the matter and perhaps I can refresh the Minister's mind by a little note to see if we can advance the situation further. This was brought to my attention by a graduate of Trinity College who presently holds a Chair in Yale University. When in Trinity College, he had the wonderful title of lecturer in Morbid Anatomy which sounds slightly grizzly but he is a distinguished medical man who has now taken up residence in the United States of America.
Professor Raftery mentioned people from Asia and I would like to draw to the Minister's attention the plight of Palestinian students towards whom this House and Irish universities should be sympathetic. University College Dublin has a programme with Bir Zeit University on the West Bank of Israel and because of the political plight of the Palestinians we might expand this programme. We  should not confine ourselves to the parameters of relationships between Ireland and the United States of America. We, too, should be as generous as possible within our limits in making the benefits of our knowledge and academic programmes available to people who, because of political circumstances, maybe placed at the moment in a difficulty. The Minister is a political animal as I am, and will appreciate, as I do, the side benefits of these kinds of educational programmes. Young people come to our country and our young people go to the United States or wherever it is, and they mix in what will undoubtedly become highly influential circles. In ten, 15 or 20 years they may be in a position to deal reciprocally with members of Governments, ambassadors or leaders of industry and such personal contacts are of great benefit to both countries.
On the technical side of the Bill I notice that there are eight board members, four whom are appointed by the United States Ambassador, which is perfectly reasonable since they are providing the money. I also notice however that four members are appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and I share Professor Raftery's feeling that the Department of Education should be involved as we are talking about an educational exchange. Of course participation by the Department of Foreign Affairs is appropriate because there is an international agreement or protocol but the appointment of board members should be done in consultation with the people principally and directly involved. I am curious that the Bill says: “The Irish members shall be appointed and may be removed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland”.
We spent quite a long time on the Environmental Protection Agency Bill discussing the machinery for the removal of members of a board and what one had to do to qualify for removal. It is a bold statement to say that the Minister for Foreign Affairs can appoint them in a hiring and firing role without stating why they should be removed. For example, in  the case of a change of Government if the Minister for Foreign Affairs does not like Professor Bloggs from University College Cork or the new University of Limerick, does he or she not have to give any reasons at all for the removal? This is an inappropriately blunt instrument for the removal of board members. A specified reason for removal should be given. In the Environmental Protection Agency Bill it was ill-health or stated mis-behaviour. I would like to know that circumstances the Minister envisages for the arbitrary removal of somebody from this board. The Bill says “there shall not be remuneration but there will be travel, meals and lodging and so on”. It is essentially an unpaid role and it would be churlish to fire somebody without giving information. It is a possibility that may not frequently arise but perhaps the Minister could look at this.
I notice also that the Minister says the commission will be empowered to provide its own accommodation and secretariat by acquiring property and engaging an executive director and administrative staff. The budget is quite small. Senator Lanigan, with his no doubt very wide ranging experience of investments, suggested that the budget might be about £550,000 a year in a good year. We have only got to roll our eyeballs down Kildare Street to see the way in which bureaucrats have engaged enormous offices and left them empty in what amounts to a public scandal. Again, I would like some criteria laid down for this; I do not think it should be necessary for them to acquire property. Surely there is enough Government office space left idle in this city or in one of the other cities of our country to accommodate them. There should not be extravagant demands for accommodation or staff.
I raise those niggling points about the Bill but I also give it a hearty welcome. It is an important development which will benefit our students and American students. We have a very distinguished record not alone in the area of medicine and science and so on where we are not always among the world's leaders but in  certain areas of the arts and spectacularly I might say in literature where we are a world leader. Senator Raftery mentioned the number of Irish people who have won the Nobel Prize. It is arguable that the greatest novelist, poet and dramatist in the English language of this century came from this country and in literature we are up there at the head of the field. The list of people such as Joyce, O'Casey, Shaw, Synge, Wilde, Becket, Behan is very impressive. It has an economic value because people do not normally visit us for our weather but for our cultural reputation. If you mention the word Joyce in Paris, New York or Tokyo, people will say Dublin, and if you mention Dublin they immediately start talking about Joyce, Yeats or O'Casey.
A major international symposium is planned for Dublin in 1992. We expect about 1,000 scholars from all over the world but most of them will be from the United States of America. The event will be divided equally between my own university, Trinity College and Joyce's old university, University College, Dublin, because it is appropriate that people should have the opportunity of absorbing some of the atmosphere of rooms in which brilliant students like James Joyce studied at the turn of the century. I would like to take this opportunity of complimenting the authorities of University College, Dublin and perhaps also the Archdiocese of Dublin for the superb work of restoration that has just been completed in Nos. 85 and 86, St. Stephen's Green.
I was saddened, and I am sure Members in this House will join in my feeling of sadness to learn this morning of the sudden accidental death of Barbara Haley, Professor of English at Maynooth College. Professor Haley was a distinguished colleague and dear friend of mine and somebody who just a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of accompanying to Paris and to the University of Caen in Normandy where we took part in a symposium on Anglo-Irish literature. The death of Professor Haley is a great loss to Irish academic life and I am sure the House will not think it inappropriate  for me to express my condolences to her family and my sorrow that we should have been deprived of her great talents.
Mr. McKenna: I welcome the idea of educational exchange contained in this Bill. As a teacher I have long realised there is no substitute for travel and for the exchange of ideas between different people. Travel enables one to understand what makes other people tick and how their culture operates and to understand why there are so many different cultures throughout the world. I agree with Senator Norris about the problem of requiring recognition for degrees from Irish universities abroad and the misunderstanding in America about the qualifications of people who leave institutions in this country with excellent results. As Senator Norris said, they are equal, if not better than many other third level graduates throughout the world.
There is also a misunderstanding in the US in relation to the accumulation of years in primary, second level and third level schooling for the recognition of degrees for teaching or other purposes, and also in regard to the fact that the Higher Diploma in Education is not recognised as a first graduate diploma in the United States. The situation is unfortunate but I hope in future that the development of these international educational exchanges will increase understanding. The only method to get the message across is by mutual exchanges between the two countries involved. They have to be educated about our system, just as we have to be educated about their system.
I hope the excellent degrees provided in this country by all the various institutions will be accepted as bona fide throughout the world the demand for Irish graduates testifies to the fact that our graduates are on a par with those of any other country. A range of companies line up here every year to employ our graduates; they hold conferences and  information seminars and so on to encourage our graduates to join their institutions and industrial organisations. They would not do that if they did not recognise that graduates from our institutions are among the best in the world. We recognise the tremendous contribution our educational system has made to the development of our own country and, in addition, the contribution we have made to other countries by the excellent graduates who have gone to work abroad and have enhanced the industrial life, the culture and the economic development of those countries.
Education exchange is extremely important for us. As we live on an island it is understandable that we may at times be rather insular in our thinking our approach and our attitude towards what takes place in the big world outside. This educational exchange affords us the opportunity to compare ourselves with other societies and cultures. That is very important. We must see other cultures in order to realise exactly what is good in our own culture and what is not so good in it. Accordingly, we have to recognise that while things are done in other ways, our attitudes and frame of mind may be a little better in some shape or form. We will only get that by comparing ourselves with these other cultures. This educational exchange affords the opportunity to a limited number — and it is unfortunate that it is a limited number — of students to participate in the programme.
Referring specifically to the USA, many of use can claim that we have relations living in the United States, whether first, second or third generation. On the other hand, I have not met any American who has not claimed to have Irish ancestors. It is on record that every American President has claimed Irish ancestry. The significant thing is that they were proud to claim Irish ancestry. They were anxious to trace Irish ancestors. We should be proud that so many eminent people were anxious to claim a relationship with our country.
I was reading recently that St. Brendan found America. St. Brendan was a  Kerryman — Kerrymen are marvellous in their own way — and no one less than St. Brendan would claim the credit for discovering America. We have an affinity with America that stretches back a long way. The ties between Ireland and America have been developed. It is important that we are here today speaking on this Bill so that we can maintain, foster and develop the association that was built up between the two countries down the years. This is to the mutual benefit of both Ireland and America.
We have one of the best educational systems in the world. The Bill before us will give effect to an agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ireland and that of the United States to establish this scholarship exchange scheme and to further expand the programme of academic exchanges between the two countries. As the Minister pointed out, it will result in a new Ireland/United States Commission for Educational Exchange and a new Ireland/US Educational Fund. I join with the Minister in congratulating the members of the Scholarship Exchange Board, American and Irish, both past and present, for the excellent manner in which they carried out their duties. I would also like to pay tribute to Senator Fulbright who was the pioneer in this area. His contribution in establishing this fund cannot go unrecognised. We are here today as a result of the developments that took place then. We welcome the new developments. As time goes by changes have to be made in the way things are done. We have to give due recognition to the people who have worked so well over the years in providing the exchange programme.
I look forward to more developments in the area of educational exchange. I am particularly interested in the exchange of the no-so-bright individuals from here. The vast majority of the population who go into the workplace are not the top 5 or 10 per cent of academic high achievers. They are, by and large, the people we have to depend on to get things done. It is extremely important that those people  should be afforded the opportunity to broaden their horizons, to develop their ideas and to see how things are done. I appreciate the financial implications and the difficulties that would be incurred in trying to provide a programme of that nature but I would ask that consideration be given to providing the mechanism where the ordinary — for the want of a better word — students and young people in this country would be afforded the opportunity to visit those places on an educational exchange programme, so that they, too, would get the benefits of travel and of broadening their ideas and their attitudes to different cultures. While I welcome the present system I would hope that it could be developed further to afford the opportunity to many other people to get involved.
In the coming decades education will be greatly influenced by changes in the cultural, social, economic and political landscape. We all know that education is the gateway to the development of society. It is the mechanism by which we make the best possible use of that development. Educational exchange is an important element in society and in the progress of society, whether it is developing the Third World or in the highly developed countries. The difficulties in the Third World at present are primarily caused by lack of education. We listen regularly to people working in those areas. They talk at length about the fact that it is not sufficient to provide food for the people in difficulties. What we must do is educate these people to help themselves. We will never solve the problems of the Third World until we educate the people in those countries to look after themselves. There is an unimaginable amount of difficult work to be done. The Third World agencies are doing a manificent job trying to develop those systems. We can understand the huge disadvantages of working in those areas.
Traditionally, education policies are national policies. The fast moving events of recent times such as the economic integration, the demise of the Communist agencies and regimes, and the emergence of the dynamic Asian economies were  mentioned by two speakers. They have implications for national policies. Countries are becoming increasingly interdependent politically, economically and culturally. They will raise new and urgent problems in the years to come in terms of international understanding and exchange.
Knowledge of other countries' cultures is essential to economic competitiveness. We are not talking just specifically about educational benefits but about huge economic benefits later both from the contacts that are made and the fact that people will begin to understand each other. There is no substitute for word of mouth. When people are in another country they should understand exactly how the people in that country operate and the benefits which would come from setting up industry there. Cultural and educational exchanges will enhance the understanding and attitudes of people towards this country, and vice versa. The buzz word, “internationalisation” and the impact of the media across all boundaries will, undoubtedly, raise concerns about how national cultural identities can be preserved. We will be at pains to preserve our cultural identity but we cannot do that by putting up the shutters and being oblivious to what is going on outside. The best way we can preserve our culture is by seeing how other cultures operate. We must open our doors to those people and show them the tremendous traditions, marvellous heritage, language and culture we have.
I welcome this Bill. It can do nothing but good for the people who will be fortunate enough to engage in the educational exchange from the United States and from this side of the Atlantic. I look forward to further developments in this area. I compliment the Minister on bringing forward this Bill and I wish it well.
Mr. Mullooly: I will be very brief. I join with the other Senators who have spoken in welcoming this Bill, the main purpose of which is to give effect to an agreement between our Government and the Government of the United States for a programme of educational exchange.  This agreement was signed on 27 October 1988. I understand it resulted from commitments given by the former United States President, Ronald Reagan, when he visited Ireland in 1984. The new scholarship exchange scheme being established under the agreement will increase the level of academic exchanges between Ireland and the United States. This is to be welcomed. The additional American funding being allocated for this purpose under the Fulbright Hays Act is also to be welcomed. However, in order to avail of this additional funding it is necessary to replace the existing scholarship exchange board which up to now has administered academic exchanges between the United States and Ireland by a new body which will be known as the Ireland/United States Commission for Educational Exchange. The establishment of this new body is provided for in this Bill. This body will, in the future, administer the scholarship exchange scheme.
Sections 2, 3 and 4 deal with the establishment of the new commission and how it will operate. Its functions are defined in section 2. Section 3 deals with the number of members of the commission and the method of appointment of members. Section 4 sets out the provisions regarding the officers of the Commission. I would like to welcome the statement by the Minister that the commission will be larger and more autonomous in management and administration than the scholarship board. I also welcome the fact that the present chairman of the scholarship exchange board will serve as the first chairman of the new commission. This will provide a degree of continuity which will be of considerable benefit to the new commission.
The fund which the new commission will have at its disposal is provided for in section 5. It will be known as the Ireland/United States Educational Fund. This fund will enable the Commission  to finance a variety of activities with an educational dimension. Exchanges of students, research workers and teachers of the two countries will come within the scope of the fund, as will other educational and cultural programmes and activities such as research, studies and instruction. Hopefully, in the years ahead many citizens of both countries will benefit from the enactment of this legislation, the establishment of the new commission and the new Ireland/United States Educational Fund.
Indeed, since 1957 many Irish academics and post-graduate students have been enabled to pursue further studies in the United States because of the existence of the scholarship exchange fund. Similarly, many United States students availed of the scheme to study in Ireland. Apart altogether from those United States students who come here under the scholarship exchange scheme, thousands of other United States students come to Ireland every year to partake in a variety of courses and summer schools. This is to be very much welcomed and encouraged. Indeed, I understand that more and more American universities and educational institutions are providing courses in Irish studies. Such courses will, inevitably, lead to a greater interest in Irish literatue, culture and history. We should do everything possible to harness this interest in an effort to attract as many as possible of those students to visit Ireland and spend some time studying here.
Since the passing of the Scholarship Exchange (Ireland and the United States of America) Act, 1957 the programme of academic exchange has been under the umbrella of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Other Senators referred to this. I would also like to ask if any consideration was ever given to transferring this programme to the Minister for Education and the Department of Education. It appears to me that a very strong case could be made for doing so, as this programme would fit in very comfortably  with the other activities of the Department of Education. I welcome the Bill and the additional funding being made available under it. I sincerely hope that increased opportunity will exist for a greater level of participation in the programme in the years ahead and that many Irish and United States students will benefit considerably.
Mr. O'Keeffe: I will be very brief. I want to use the occasion to welcome the Bill which is very important. All of us are satisfied that educational exchange is vital. What exactly, one might ask, do we get out of exchanges such as these? We get recognition of the educational establishments here and in the United States. That, in itself, leads to a broadening of the mind of the students fortunate enough to be awarded these scholarships. It gives them an opportunity to study the culture and traditions of the country in which they are fortunate to be taking up their scholarships. More importantly, it gives them a learning experience of that educational establishment and of the way of life of that country and affords them an opportunity to compare the educational establishments both here and in the US. From a government point of view and certainly from the Irish Government's point of view exchange is vital because statistics show that something like 5 per cent of Americans actually travel abroad, which is a relatively small figure. One of the reasons may be that they have not been aware of Ireland as a country with tremendous tradition and culture and worth visiting. Because we have so many Irish people go to the US, and we have so many relations there, we may forget about the vast bulk of people there who have no tradition or contact with us in Ireland. I see, therefore, this exchange as giving an opportunity to bring in other graduates from the US to Ireland who will be the tourists of the future. They will return home and tell their friends and neighbours what a marvellous country this is.
It is quite interesting to consider the range of speakers. There were two speakers from the university sector, Senator  McKenna from the vocational school sector, and Senator Mullooly from the national school sector. The two university Senators made no mention whatsoever of the regional colleges and the higher education institutes. As somebody lecturing in the Regional College, Cork, I take the opportunity to refer to these establishments and the excellence of the graduates who are being produced there.
Senator Norris mentioned difficulties with regard to recognition of degrees here and in the US. My own personal view is that we can be very proud in Ireland of the quality of graduate that we are producing. This message is certainly getting across in the US. The number of companies who are now coming to Ireland to recruit graduates is growing annually. The graduates who have gone before have proved themselves. They have shown, after a very short time working in the US, that they are top quality. There is great scope and potential for development within industry there. In actual fact, it is causing difficulty in some areas in that some of our best graduates have been going abroad to companies in the US. Even though unemployment levels are extremely high, a company like Intel locating here in Ireland had a difficulty in recruiting top class graduates. It is ironic that in order to meet their requirements Intel had, through a network now established by the IDA, to contact Irish graduates working abroad to entice them back here.
Degrees and status should be looked at particularly in our two countries. The Department of Education here and the education establishment in the US should compare our degrees. It seems that our graduates reach a far higher professional level at the end of their degree courses than would be the case in the US. We need equivalence in this regard. We have established an excellence in terms of the graduates we are producing but we might ask ourselves are we cutting down on the numbers who could become graduates because of the high standards we expect from them. Should there be a levelling off? It is something that we could pursue further.
 I know, it is not appropriate to the Minister to advert to the fact that there is a difficulty with regard to titles of regional colleges in particular. What is in a name? On a visit to the US, as part of an industrial delegation, we had the President of a university and the principal of a regional college. When the itinerary was being prepared for these two people to visit educational establishments in the US the President of the university was sent along to equivalent universities in the US, but the principal of the Regional Technical College was sent to second-level institutions. In other words, the term and title “Regional Technical College” does not suggest that in these colleges we have degree courses and diploma and certificate courses. Some acknowledgment must be made of this and changing the title of the colleges would bring this about.
With regard to industrial policy the IDA have singled out the pharmaceutical, electronic, computer and the health care sectors. The Government have particularly identified the food and tourism sectors. The commission might have regard to those areas when allocating scholarships? While I am not saying that policy should be channelled entirely into those areas, regard should be had to industrial policy here. When we are having exchanges and trying to get the best advantage out of them, we should keep in mind what industrial policy is and the advantages that can accrue from them. I have heard of cities and counties twinning with others in the US. While this scholarship scheme is laudable, obviously it is limited in its scope. For a long time I have held the view that we should be looking at twinning between third level institutions here and in the US.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the major impact that the US Government have had on the siting of industry here over the years. It makes me cringe when I hear people trying to denigrate some of the American policies. The American Government have been a good friend to us over the years, and I would like to acknowledge that here  today. This agreement, and the amount of money that is made available, is further proof of their commitment to Ireland. As regards twinning, there are major advantages from that for our educational establishments. I would hope that the Minister for Education would consider whether any funding could be made available to universities, regional colleges and other institutions who become involved in twinning.
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