Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (138)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

138. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students known to have dropped out of third level education in each of the past three years to date for whatever reason; his plans to tackle this issue in the coming year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32521/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The most recent report by the HEA entitled 'A study of Progression in Higher Education' is available on the HEA website. The following table from the report illustrates the non-presence rates of new entrants in their second year of study by sector, NFQ level and course duration. New entrants are classified as 'not present' if they do not appear in the statistical returns of that institution in the following academic year. The proportion of new entrants in 2007/08 who were not present one year later was 15% on average across all sectors and NFQ Levels. Prior educational attainment is a very significant factor. The HEA is currently in the process of working on an analysis of retention rates in the universities and institutes of technology. This has only recently become possible due to a full population of SRS (Student Record System) data becoming available for a period spanning five years. The HEA which is responsible for the collection of data on student progression does not have information for the current academic year, however it is currently collating data for the 2010/11 academic year and it is hoped that this data will be available in the autumn. Higher education institutions have a wide range of supports in place to improve retention of students in their institutions. The HEA study and other research has also highlighted that undergraduate first years are most at risk of non-progression. The new National Forum for the enhancement of Teaching and Learning that I established late last year is looking at the undergraduate student experience in first year and how that may be improved on a system wide basis. Their work should improve quality outcomes for students at that difficult transition period. The work of the Transition reform group chaired by the Secretary General of my Department should also contribute to improvements in students' quality outcomes. A key commitment has been made by the higher education institutions to reduce the number of level 8 programmes offered through the CAO and broadening them. This should help school leavers better navigate the entry routes into higher education system when making the important choice about what programme to undertake. They will also be exposed to a broader first year experience. This change when implemented should help to reduce the number of school leavers making the wrong choice about what course of study to undertake and help to reduce non-progression and completion.

Non-Presence Rates for New Entrants by Sector and NFQ Level (2008/09).

Sector

Level

Most Common Points Attained

% Not Present

-

Level 6

250–300

25%

-

Level 7

250–300

26%

-

Level 8

300–350

16%

-

L8 3 yr duration

300–350

16%

-

L8 4 yr duration

300–350

16%

-

L8 4+ yr duration

450–500

10%

Institutes of Technology

All New Entrants

300–350

22%

-

Level 8

400–450

9%

-

L8 3 yr duration

350–400

10%

-

L8 4 yr duration

450–500

9%

Universities

L8 4+ yr duration

550–600

3%

-

Level 8

450–500

4%

-

L8 3 yr duration

450–500

2%

Other Colleges

L8 4 yr duration

400–450

7%

All Institutions

Level 8

350–400

11%

All Institutions

All New Entrants

350–400

15%