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Eugene Murphy TD “Entry routes into 3rd level education must be broadened”

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Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has called for more progress on reforming the CAO system and broadening entry routes into 3rd level education.

Deputy Murphy congratulated all of the students who collected their Leaving Cert results this week throughout Roscommon and Galway but he noted that there was tremendous pressure on young people and they should not despair if they did not get the results they had hoped for as there were a range of options which could be explored.

The Fianna Fail Deputy said however that there had been a huge increase in the number of courses being offered at 3rd level under the CAO system in recent years which has resulted in the CAO system becoming staggeringly complex. “This is placing further pressure on Leaving Certificate students who are already facing the stress of having to sit the state exams.

“The universities have admitted that such specialised courses were introduced with the intention of inflating entry points under the CAO system, with the aim of enhancing the perception that their institutions offered prestigious ‘high points’ courses.

“This has perpetuated the fallacy that high points courses are automatically more prestigious. Minister Bruton and the Higher Education Authority need to take a tougher line with 3rd level institutions that have shown themselves unwilling to broaden their entry routes.

Lack of Guidance counselling

Eugene Murphy added “The loss of guidance counselling services has perpetuated the myth surrounding high point’s courses. This is particularly problematic in less advantaged schools where parental contributions and school fees are not available to replace lost funding.”

“Without specialist guidance advice, young people find it difficult to cope with the huge range of options that are open to them. This is especially true to students who do not have parents or older siblings who have gone through 3rd level and lack personal knowledge about the higher education system.

“This is a further reason why Fianna Fáil considered it essential to secure a restoration of guidance counselling to schools in return for supporting the government on a Confidence and Supply basis. We expect to see significant restoration of guidance services in Budget 2017,” said Deputy Murphy.