Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Ceisteanna (53, 54)

John Lyons

Ceist:

56 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to reform the HPAT entry exam to Irish medical schools; his views on whether those who can afford expensive preparatory courses are at an advantage when sitting the exam; his views on whether there is a more equitable assessment process that could be instituted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23181/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lyons

Ceist:

57 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills if in consideration of any proposals for reforming the HPAT entry exam to Irish medical schools, he will examine the possibility of allowing any such entry exam or assessment process to be taken through Irish; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23182/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Skills)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 56 and 57 together.

The selection criteria for admission to medical programmes are determined by the higher education institutions in line with their statutory autonomy in academic affairs.

The introduction of HPAT in 2009 had regard to the findings of the Working Group on Undergraduate Medical Education and Training: Medical Education in Ireland: A New Direction (the Fottrell report), which recommended that the Leaving Certificate results should no longer be the sole selection method for entry to medical education at undergraduate level, but that a two stage mechanism should be applied consisting of the results obtained in Leaving Cert and a standardised admissions test which would assess non-academic skills and attributes regarded as important for the practice of medicine.

The medical schools committed to a review of the new entry mechanism within 3 years and the outcome of this review is awaited. Any issues arising from the review in relation to the entry process will be for the medical schools to address.

It is understood that the medical schools did consider the possibility of making the test available in both Irish and English but this was found to be impractical as when dealing with an internationally-standardised aptitude test such as HPAT the medium of language is a significant factor and tests in different languages are not directly comparable.