Social Democrats spokesperson on Education Equality and Access, Cllr Gary Gannon, said today that much more needs to be done to equip students from disadvantaged schools to stay the course at university.
Cllr Gannon was commenting on research form the Higher Education Authority showing that students from disadvantaged schools are almost twice as likely to fail to make it past their first year in college than those from fee-paying schools.
Cllr Gannon, who works with Trinity College Dublin’s Access Programme, said:
“It’s disappointing, but not surprising to see that almost one-in-five students from Deis schools did not progress beyond first year at university. Settling in to university can be very challenging for all young people, but those from disadvantaged schools face so many more hurdles than their counterparts from fee-paying schools.
“I firmly believe that if we had better and more career guidance supports for secondary school students, that would help reduce the proportion of university drop outs among people from disadvantaged schools.
“Career guidance hours have been drastically cut in schools, especially in Deis schools – and today’s research findings are the outworking of that lack of direction and information.
“It’s obvious that students whose parents have themselves gone to university can draw on their experiences and guidance on a daily basis – and that makes them much better prepared for university life.
“Those whose parents did not progress to third level don’t enjoy the same kinds of informal supports – and it’s obvious that not enough is being done in our formal education system to bridge this social divide.
“We need to see career guidance at a much earlier stage in the secondary school cycle, and also the introduction of classroom mentoring schemes so that young people can learn from people from their own communities who have made it through college and can share their experiences with them.”
18 May 2018