No brain drain of brightest students

IN HIS address at the Cork Chamber Business Breakfast on December 20, the President of University College, Cork, Dr Michael Murphy stated that “there is extensive anecdotal evidence of many of our brightest students emigrating after completing Leaving Certificate for overseas education, and never returning”.

Figures published in November 2011 (School League Tables 2011) do not support this assertion, as they show that 100% of students who sat the Leaving Certificate in the following schools in Cork went to higher education institutions (universities, institutes of technology and colleges of education) in the Republic of Ireland.

Virtually all of these students went to UCC and Cork Institute of Technology, with a small number going to other Irish universities. None of them went to overseas universities. The schools (with the number of 2011 Leaving Cert students in brackets) are as follows: Christian Brothers College, Cork city (122) Mount Mercy College, Cork (117) Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, Cork (102) Presentation College, Mardyke, Cork city (90) Coláiste an Phiarsaigh, Glanmire, Cork (81) Coláiste Daibhéid, South Mall, Cork (24). In the case of most other second level schools in Cork city, more than 95% of their Leaving Cert students went to Irish higher education institutions and it is likely that those who are not recorded as going to higher education either went to further education courses, repeated the Leaving Certificate or finished their full-time education. The situation was similar in Dublin, where 100% of Leaving Cert students from the following schools were reported to have gone to Irish higher education institutions: Belvedere College; Loreto College St Stephen’s Green; Loreto Abbey, Dalkey; St. Michael’s College, Ailesbury Road; St. Benildus College, Stillorgan; St. Conleth’s College, Clyde Road; The Teresian School, Stillorgan Road; Gonzaga College, Sandford Road; Castleknock College; Catholic University School: St Mary’s College, Rathmines; Alexandra College, Milltown; John Scottus Secondary School, Morehampton Road; Rathdown School, Glenageary; Coláiste Iosagáin, Stillorgan Road; St. Joseph of Cluny Secondary School, Ballinclea Road; and Coláiste Cois Life, Lucan.

The picture is the same in other parts of the country, with many second level schools, especially those which have traditionally been feeder schools for the Irish university sector, sending virtually all their students to Irish higher education institutions. The statistics suggest that very few Irish Leaving Certificate students go abroad for their undergraduate education. So there appears to be no need for concern about a brain drain of high-achieving Irish Leaving Cert students to overseas universities.

Professor Áine Hyland


Co Dublin

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