Is there a 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 conceptualized
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 paper explores higher education as a public good
and its role in realizing the public good (Jonathan
With particular reference to Ireland, this paper also looks at
the impact of conceptualizing the `public good' role of higher education
from an economic perspective, and what this implies for students,
higher education institutions and society.