AROUND 55,000 students will receive their Leaving Certificate results tomorrow ahead of the nervous wait for college places next week.
The numbers awaiting results are around the same as last year’s school leavers, but the 44,441 students who have applied for places through the Central Applications Office (CAO) is just over 2,000 more than last year.
Some colleges have already offered more places than in the past to mature students and other applicants, meaning Leaving Certificate points could be pushed up for access to some courses when the CAO makes its first round of offers to school leavers on Monday.
The results to be issued to students at 730 second-level schools, at colleges, prisons and other exam centres, include the first grades in the new Leaving Certificate subject of design and communication graphics which has replaced technical drawing and was examined for the first time in June.
There is likely to be major focus again on results in mathematics, with hopes high of a reversal of trends of recent years which showed fewer students taking higher level maths and rising numbers failing ordinary level.
While government strategies point to the need for more students and graduates with strong maths skills, figures reported yesterday again highlighted the large proportion of students dropping out of science and technology courses at university.
The average figure was more than one in five, but it was almost two out of five at Dublin City University and more than one in four at University College Dublin.
Engineers Ireland, the professional body for the sector in Ireland, said students must appreciate the emerging engineering job opportunities in the Irish economy.
“We clearly need to focus on the teaching of maths and science, incentivise these teachers and do whatever it takes to improve the standard of teaching in these subjects in second-level,” said Engineers Ireland director general John Power.
“While many sectors are heavily hit by the downturn, there are still jobs in sectors of engineering and science.”
However, provisional results of a survey of National University of Ireland’s 2008 graduates showed the highest proportion of degree holders seeking employment had qualified from the science disciplines.
Figures from the CAO show that the proportion of applicants who listed level 8 degrees in engineering or technology fell compared to last year, although science degrees have risen in popularity.
As usual, the biggest interest is in arts and social science courses, which account for the top choice of more than one in four applicants, with almost one in six opting for business and administration degrees.
The State Examinations Commission (SEC) will operate its normal services from 12 midday tomorrow for those who want to access their results from overseas or who cannot get to their school.
Students must have their examination number and a personal identification number before obtaining results from the SEC website – www.examinations.ie – or calling the results phone line on 1530 719 290 from within the Republic of Ireland or 00 353 1 688 5312 from overseas.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved