Sinn Féin spokespeople for Further and Higher Education Mairéad Farrell TD and Pádraig Delargy MLA, welcomed the publication of Universities Ireland (UI) report on recommended changes to the A-Level – Leaving Certificate points equivalence, which if enacted could promote greater north south mobility in third level education.
Teachta Farrell said:
“A lot of credit deserves to go to those who have helped to drive this report including past, current and future students who understand the barriers which prevent A Level students from studying in the south. I want to acknowledge Universities Ireland for its publication and the very constructive role of the Irish Universities Association.
“The Oireachtas Education Committee did their own detailed report on this and heard from many different stakeholders including students and parents. This provided a real impetus with my colleague Teachta Rose Conway Walsh playing a leading role in the Committee’s report.
“If the recommendations of the UI report are enacted then it could pay dividends in terms of North South mobility in third level education and help to level the playing field of those undertaking A–Levels to study in third level institutions in the south.
“The increase in the points equivalence for A Level subjects is welcome but it remains that for 600 points a 4th subject at AS Level will be required. This means that there is a great job of work to do to ensure there is sufficient awareness of this development among younger students who are choosing their A Level Subjects and are considering studying in the south be expanded. We will need the Department and the Minister to lead on this.
“The Minister must also ensure that the bonus points system for Honours Level Maths and how this equates with A Levels is studied in detail and that recommendations come from a report on how to deal with this.”
Pádraig Delargy, the Foyle MLA said:
“I welcome today’s announcement which signals a move to ensure fairness and parity between those who complete A-levels and the Leaving Cert, this could not have come about without the ongoing work by Sinn Féin representatives who made this a priority.
“Sinn Féin have long called for this barrier to north-south enrollments to be addressed. In the past northern students were subject to admissions processes that made it almost impossible for them to access a place in the south.
“While this is an important step forward it is in many ways a starting point. We would also like to see northern students who study Additional Maths at A-Level being given similar bonus points to those in the south and for the clearing system to be more aligned so that A-level students can receive notification of their place more quickly.”