CAO rise for teacher training courses

Demand for teacher training courses has risen for the second year running while the number of students wishing to pursue a career in journalism has fallen by up to 51%. There has also been an increase in demand for honours degree courses, according to the latest CAO figures.

CAO rise for teacher training courses

Demand for teacher training courses has risen for the second year running while the number of students wishing to pursue a career in journalism has fallen by up to 51%. There has also been an increase in demand for honours degree courses, according to the latest CAO figures.

The trends emerge in a breakdown of this year’s CAO applications which overall are slightly up on last year, with those choosing higher level up 2.6% and ordinary level degrees up by a modest 0.5%. The number of total CAO applications this year has increased slightly with more than 73,034 people applying for a place in higher education.

The increase of just under 400 applications, or 0.5%, reverses last year’s trend when the total number of applications fell by 5%. This may not represent the total number of CAO applicants as a late application facility opened on Tuesday of this week and will continue until May 1.

The highest number of CAO applications in recent years was recorded in 2016, when 76,227 had applied by the end of February that year.

Demand for honours degree (level 8) courses — offered in universities, institutes of technology and other colleges — are up 2.6% overall, as against a fall of 3.9% in 2018.

The number of applicants for ordinary degree and higher certificate courses, known as Level 7/6, which are mostly provided by institutes of technology, rose by 0.5%, nowhere near enough to recover from the 10.5% fall in 2018.

The number of students opting for Humanities (except languages) at higher level as a first preference choice now stands at 2,658 —an increase of 41% while those choosing Languages at this level is up 20%.

Changes at ordinary level for these courses are even more dramatic, with first preferences for Education up 107% and Humanities (except languages) up 105%. While those choosing primary teaching has risen by a modest 1%, the corresponding first preference figure for secondary education is 8%.

Interest in journalism has fallen at both levels. At ordinary level, first preferences for Journalism and Information is down by 37%, while at honours level, it has fallen by 51%.

Commenting on the figures, Maynooth University said it has experienced its highest-ever level of first preference applications, with almost 3,600 students selecting Maynooth as their university of choice for the 2019-20 academic year. This figure represents a 7% increase on applications from 2018.

“These latest CAO figures are a gratifying endorsement of the bold choices we have made as an institution,” said Professor Philip Nolan, president of Maynooth University.

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