The universities in Ireland

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In the turbulent centures that followed the Norman invasion, several efforts were made to establish universities in Ireland. In 1311, John de Leah, Archbishop of Dublin, obtained a bull from Pope Clement V authorizing him to establish a university in Dublin, but he died before anithing could be accomplished. An attempt was made in 1465 to found a university in Drogheda; this was to be endowed, as far as the Prliament of the England Pale could do it, with all the rights and privileges of the university of Oxford. The parliament concerned was presided over by Tomas, Earl of Desmond; two ears later he was attainted and beheaded, his estates were confiscated, and once more the idea of a university came to nothing.At last,in 1591, the idea was realized.


In that year a group of Dublin citixents obtained a charter from Queen Elizabeth I incorporating Trinity College as a mater universitatis. By this term they envisaged that a group of university colleges would sterm from Trinity in the continental and English style;owing to the course of Tudor and subsequent Irish history that ideal has not yet been realized.The Corporation of Dublin granted to the new foundation the lands and dilapidated buldings of the Monastery of All Hallows,lying south-east of the sity walls Subscriptions were raised from among the principal gentleman of each country, who had been invited to assist the new college to the benefit of the whole country, whereby Knowlege, Learning and Civility may be increased,to the banishment of barbarism,tumults and disorderly living from among them. A number of landed estates were secured to the College out of the confiscations which followed the defeat northen Earls.

The university was designed to encourage English culture in Ireland,and to promote the reformed religion in it's statutory form,so that it's establishment afforded no opportunities for higher education to recusant bodies, whether Catholic or Dissenting. The college survived the storms of the Cromwellian and Revolution periods, and settled down as the university of the colonial ascendancy, taking it's tone from the new Whig society,mainly mercantile and nouveau riche,which had been put in power by the Williamite victory. Yet even in the religious and political doldrums of the eghteenth century, the true university and liberal spirit survived in Trinity,and it's alumni included Swift,Berkeley, Bruke, Goldsmith, Grattan,and Wolf Tone. Towards the close of the century there was an awakening sense of independence and of patriotism in what had been a colonial minority, with a consequent relaxation of the penal code which had discriminated, in religion and culture, against the native Irish and the Anglo-Irish majority; and after the passage of the Catholic Relief Act,1793, Trinity abandoned the exclusive character it had hith erto borne.

Since 1947, the College has received substantial grants from the Irish State. Recent years have brought to the University a great diversity of students, wuth many of the undergraduates coming from Great Britan and from overseas.

The University is represented by the Chancellor,Vice-Chancellor and Senate,whose main function is to confer degrees.The College is governed by the Board of Trinity College.The assent of the Board is required to all professional chairs and other academic posts, and determines details of courses and examinations. The Povost of the College is nominated by the Goverment from one of three names submitted by the Board. Except in this last respect,the University and the College enjoy complete autonomy. The College Library is Great Britan and Ireland.


Under the QueenТs College (Ireland) Act,1845,Colleges were established by the Goverment at Cork, Galway and Belfast,to provide higher education on a non-denominational basis. Ufortunately, the character of these Colleges were felt to be out of accord with Catholic educational principles, and after a storm of public controversy they were condemned by the Hierarchy.

In 1854,the Catholic University of Ireland was established by the Hierarchy, who invited John Henry Newman to be it's first Rector. Newman, imbued with the liberal principles embodied in his celebrated Idea of a University, was not quite at home amid the realities of Irish political and religious controversy, and his brave experiment failed. As 'Newman's University' was not recognized by the State,it could not confer degrees,neither did it have any public endowment. Coriously, it's best success was in medicine, for the College of Surgeons and the ApothecariesТ Hall recognized the courses of study pursued by the Catholic University Medical School students and admitted them to the College and Hall examinations, thus to become registered medical practitioners.

The Royal University was founded in 1879. This was merely an examining body, set up mainly for the purpose of enabling the students of the Catholic University to obtain recognized degrees. In 1883,the Catholic University,henceforth to be called University College,Dublin, was placed in the charge of the Society of Jesus, who maintained it succesfully until the passing of the Irish Universities Act,1908. This Act provided for the dissolution of the Royal University and of QueenТs College, Belfast, and for the foundation in their stead of two new Universities, one in Belfast which was to become Queen's University, and the other, in Dublin,the National University of Ireland. The two universities are self-governing institution ope-

rating under charter, autonomous as regards policy and administration, and appointing their own academic and administrative staffs.

The National University of Ireland is a federal university, with a central office in Dublin and three Constituent Colleges: University College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Galway; and one Recognized College, St. PatrickТs College, Maynooth. Maynooth is a seminary for the training of Catholic'clergy. It was founded in 1795 and endowed by a Goverment who, chastened by the French Revolution, recognized the conservative and conserving character of the Irish priesthood. In 1845 the Maynooth College Board of Trustees was incorporated by Statute, and in 1899 was invested by the Holy See with authority to confer degrees in Philosophy, Theology, and Canon Law.

The National University itself does not teach; the courses for degrees are conducted by the Colleges which, in practice, lay down their own programme and set their own examinations. Courses are given in the various faculties,with certain exceptions,at each of the Constituent Colleges; and in Arts, Philosophy and Sociology, Celtic Sudents, and Science at Maynooth. Courses in Dairy Science are given only at University College Cork;courses in General Agriculture and Veterinary Science are (outside of Trinity College) confined to University College Dublin.By the University Education (Agriculture and Dairy Science) Act, 1926, the Royal College of Science and the Albert Agricultural College were Transferred to University College Dublin, which was empowered to continue the functions formerly fulfilled by these institutions.

Like Trinity College, the National University receives, through the Department of Education, financial assistance from the State in the form of annual grants-in-aid, as well as non

recurrent grants for capital purposes. Each of the Colleges is

a complete organism,with it's own Governing Body and full con-

trol of it's own finances.

* * *


There are twelve residental schools of Rural Domestic Economy,seven of which operate under the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The schools are privately owned,but the State subsidized and subject to inspection in the same way as agricultural colleges.Students are admitted from the age of 15 upwards.The course runs from September until June.The syllabus comprises theoretical and practical instrustion in the following subjects: - Poultrykeeping, Dairing, Cookery, Housewifery, Dressmaking, Laundry, Arts and Crafts, Phisiology, Higiene, First Aid and Home Nursing, Horticulture and general subjects.

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