Admission to third level education has tripled over the last 25 years, it emerged today
In the space of a generation, uptake on college and university courses has gone from 20% in 1980 to nearly three times that in 2004.
A new report by The Higher Education Authority revealed seven out of every 10 (68.3%) of those who are sitting the Leaving Certificate are entering some form of higher education
“This rise in participation is truly remarkable,” said HEA Chairman Michael Kelly.
“This shows that successive Government investments in higher education are paying off, and more and more parents and students see the benefits of pursuing a higher education.
“We should also not forget that a substantial number of other students enrol in Further Education Colleges. Irish young people and other learners now have access to a range of educational and training opportunities that hitherto were not available in this country.”
The report – Who Went to College in 2004? A National Survey of New Entrants to Higher Education – revels Sligo has the highest rate of admission to higher education, 71%, and Dublin boasts a 13 percentage point increase.
The overall admission rate has increased by 11% since 1998 and now lies at 55%. When entrants to higher education institutions in the North are included, this figure reaches 56% and rises to almost 60% when entrants to colleges in Great Britain are added.
Mr Kelly continued: “Impressive progress has been made towards meeting targets set by the Government following the publication of the McNamara Report on Access in 2001. Most notably the target for the unskilled group of 33% by 2006 has been surpassed – now between 33-40% – and the number of mature entrants at 9.4% has almost reached the target of 10% set for 2006.”
As in previous reports, counties along the western side of the country all enjoy high rates of admission: Galway 67.4%; Kerry 67%; Mayo 66.8%; Donegal (incl NI colleges) 60.2%; Monaghan (incl NI colleges) 57.6%.
In Dublin, there has been significant progress with eight postal districts having a rate above the national average compared to six in 1998.
Dublin 1 (North Inner City) has gone up from 8.9% to 22.8%; Dublin 2 (South Inner City) up from 19.5% to 29.5%; Dublin 24 (Tallaght, Firhouse) up from 26.1% to 40%; and Dublin 17 (Priorswood, Darndale) up from 8.4% to 16.7%.
Dublin 14 (Rathfarnham, Dundrum, Clonskeagh) at 86.5% has the highest rate of admission with Dublin 10 (Ballyfermot) at 11.7% having the lowest rate.