THE president of Limerick Institute of Technology has welcomed Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan’s stated ambition to see more third level places allocated to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“This is an area we are very committed to and we already have a higher percentage of students from under-represented groups than average for the sector,” said Dr Maria Hinfelaar.
“Our campus development plans dovetail with the Limerick 2030 revitalisation plans and includes fully developed proposals for the community engagement gateway with a multi-purpose facility on the main campus here. This will connect with a regeneration area on the northside of the city as well as providing some much-needed additional classroom space for LIT and community groups also,” Dr Hinfelaar added.
Reacting to the recent HEA report that showed Irish colleges largely remained bastions of middle class privilege, Minister O’Sullivan said she would like to see that change.
Students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, the minister said needed “the opportunity to go on to higher education, it’s still not as high as it should be and I would like to make a difference in that regard”. Third level access programmes were part of the picture and early years intervention would be crucial.