Colleges creating 'elite courses with small numbers' says Limerick principal

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Colleges creating 'elite courses with small numbers' says Limerick principal

Alison Garry and Sean McMahon of Limerick Tutorial College collect their CAO results Picture: Brian Gavin/Press 22

INCREASED demand for courses is “reflective of the ongoing recovery of the economy”, according to local third level institutions, in light of the CAO figures this week.

A significant increase in demand for programmes relating to environment, science, technology and business were seen at University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology. The figures come less than a week after students all over the country were issued their Leaving Certificate results.

Castletroy College principal, Padraig Flanagan said that, while it is “inevitable” that students will apply for courses linked to recovery, colleges are “creating elite courses with a small number of places”.

“It remains my firm conviction that all of these prestigious high-points courses, that if there was much more common entry, then youngsters could specialise afterwards, having done basic degrees. There is a little bit of it with science choice, and engineering choice.”

Both UL and LIT welcomed the CAO figures this week. UL vice-president academic and registrar, Prof Paul McCutcheon said there is a “continued demand for innovative programmes” at the university.

Out of UL’s 69 programmes, 37 saw an increase in CAO points, with aeronautical engineering increasing by 40 points; and international business by 35 points.

Other popular courses at UL include psychology; mental health nursing; and sports and exercise science programmes.

Criminal justice, a new course at UL, is 400 points. 

Game art and design at LIT saw a 77-point increase to 587 points — the highest CAO requirement increase in local third level institutions.

LIT interim president Terry Twomey also welcomed the increase in demand for quantity surveying, which is 310 points this year - 60 points more than last year.

Popular courses at LIT include property valuation and management, applied biology, mechanical engineering, and video and sound technology.

Mr Flanagan said that the CAO figures and the Leaving Cert results should be published on the same day as it places “undue pressure” on students. 

“I don’t see any good reason why those two occasions should not merge. That is a huge concern for me.”