Carol Nolan TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills, Carol Nolan TD, has said the high non-progression rates in some courses at third level shows the clear neglect of the sector by the Government. Deputy Nolan was commenting on the Study of Progression in Irish Education published by the Higher Education Authority.
Commenting on the publication, Nolan said:
“Those in the lower socio-economic groups, over-represented in the Institute of Technology sector, are most at risk of dropping out of their course as figures show that level 6 and 7 courses have the highest non-progression rates of 26% and 27%."
“This compares with an 11% non-progression rate in the University sector, with those in the farming, professional, employer and managerial socio-economic groups most likely to proceed with their studies," she added.
“The Institute of Technology sector is most reliant on government funding, which has reduced by over 20% per student since 2008 with a 30% decline in staff:student ratios across third level," Carol Nolan explained.
“In addition, the ESRI has shown that cuts to guidance counselling at second level have impacted most heavily on disadvantaged students, who rely on the services for appropriate information of the career pathways available to them."
She went on to say that “cuts to basic supports to students will further increase inequality across our society in future years as graduates earn up to 64% more than those without third level education."
“There can be no excuse for the failure to invest in our young people. OECD data shows that Irish graduates produce a return to the exchequer that is higher than the OECD average."
“In our alternative budget we called for increased supports for guidance, the reduction of the staff:student ratio in institutes of technology; increased funding for student assistance and a reduction in fees – measures that would make a real difference and help support young people to complete their education," Nolan concluded.
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