- 07 Jul 23
The new scheme will give students a chance to do certain degrees which don't involve CAO points, and will ensure students aren’t forced abroad.
Second-level students can now qualify for a university degree outside the CAO points system, in one of the biggest changes to third level education in Irish history.
From September, students will be able to enrol in 23 degree courses across healthcare, enterprise, ICT and creative sectors in a Further Education institution, before progressing to a Higher Education institution to complete their fully accredited degree.
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris will launch the new system, which is intended to help students continue in education outside of the traditional CAO process.
Under existing rules, acceptance onto third level education courses is largely dominated by the Leaving Certificate points race.
Speaking on the subject on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Harris explained that students “can start a degree program in a College of Further Education, do a year or two there, and then automatically be guaranteed that they can complete the degree in a university.”
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris told @MorningIreland about how Leaving Certificate students who do not receive enough points for their hoped-for courses will be given a new pathway to third-level qualifications | Read more: https://t.co/dzZVKr3iEf pic.twitter.com/IFJP2hmNTq
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 7, 2023
Mr Harris had previously said that Further Education option is the "single biggest transformation to education in decades".
The Minister said additional options at third level will allow for around 500 places outside the CAO process, saying that it was an "important start". He added that until now, the system had capped the potential of too many people in terms of "defining their future prospects" around the points race.
Information about the 23 different courses will be available on the National Tertiary Office's website, and will also include a call for the development of additional programmes by the end of the year.
The Further Education route is expected to help students achieve their career goals and offer several advantages, including local availability of courses with guaranteed progression and the removal of geographical and financial barriers. The option may also be beneficial to older people wishing to go back to higher education.