Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff has called on Department of Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry to do more to remove the barriers facing students from the North applying to universities in the South.
Mr. McElduff said,
“More and more students from the North are applying to universities such as Dublin City University, Galway and Trinity yet they are facing hurdles that prevent them from obtaining places.
“The CAO which is the regulatory body for the universities in the South do not recognise A-levels as the same level of qualification as it is valued in the North nor will they accept A-levels that are completed over different exam sittings.
“It has transpired this is particularly discriminatory against students educated through the medium of the Irish language as they tend to do their GSCE and A-Level Irish earlier than their other exams. It also forces students to forfeit places because they believed they had achieved the proper qualifications to access the course but are turned down due to this anomaly.
“In a recent report jointly commissioned by the CBI and IBEC the non recognition of A Levels was flagged up as a major barrier to educational mobility and economic prosperity on the island of Ireland.
“I am calling on Minister Stephen Farry to address this issue urgently during the next meeting of the North South Ministerial Council due in mid October when he meets with Assembly Education Minister John O’Dowd and Ruairi Quinn Education Minister in the Irish Government and agree an system of mutual recognition for exam grades across all nine universities on the island.”