Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Ceisteanna (518, 519)

Réada Cronin

Ceist:

518. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if, on an exceptional basis, more places can be added to dental science in Trinity College Dublin for this academic year, given the unfair lottery situation facing students with maximum points; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43566/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Réada Cronin

Ceist:

519. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if he already has or will enter into talks with Trinity College Dublin on the workability of laboratory and-or other learning situations in order to facilitate entry for those students who are fully qualified points-wise but denied a place due to lack of capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43567/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 518 and 519 together.

In recognition of the particular circumstances faced by students this year, my Department worked with the HEA and the Higher Education Institutions to identify where additional places could be provided in the higher education system. As a result of this, together with the additional places created under the Human Capital Initiative, 4,650 places have been created across a wide range of courses which ensured that more students than ever before could be offered a place in a third level course.

However there are real, material limits on the number of places that can be created on courses with significant practical elements and placement requirements, such as dentistry. The places created already represent the limit of what can be accommodated in the system at the present time, and it is not intended to add further places this year.

The CAO process applications for undergraduate courses on behalf of the Higher Education Institutions. Decisions on admissions are made by the HEIs who then instruct the CAO to make offers to successful candidates. As such, neither I nor my Department have a role in the operation of the CAO. CAO points levels are not a qualification threshold but rather are determined by the grades received by students, the number of applicants for a course and the number of places available.

I know how difficult a time it has been for students and parents, and I appreciate how disappointing it can be for a student not to receive an offer for their course of choice, but I would like to stress the range of options available both in further education and training and apprenticeships, but also in pathways in higher education. For those whose route into higher education may not be what they originally planned, there are many pathways available in the further and higher education system.

Question No. 519 answered with Question No. 518.