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Education Minister must reinstate Transition Year Funding

29 January, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

As secondary school students begin the CAO process this week Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has called on Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe to reverse his decision to end second level transition year funding. The Donegal Senator has described the cut backs as regressive noting the many long term benefits of student participation in transition year.

The Donegal Senator said:

“Recent government budget cutbacks have ended the funding of the transition year, as well as other programmes such as the Leaving Cert Applied (LCA). This has resulted in many schools being left with no option but to restrict entry into their transition year programme or to abolish it altogether.

“This week sees secondary school students and adult learners from across the state begin the CAO process to seek out a third level course. This is a deciding moment in a young person’s life and unfortunately one that is often rushed into.

“A recent study showed that a large percentage of students undertaking an undergraduate degree do not finish their course due to hasty decisions at the application process. By taking part in the transition year initiative students experience an extra year in school that offer innovative programmes such as work place placements and modules ranging from law to media studies to projects such as the Young Scientists and Young Social Innovators.

“This extra year in school ensures that second level students are better equipped for their leaving certificate. It also gives our young people an opportunity to mature in an environment that allows them explore and develop interests and skills beyond the traditional school curriculum, which critically will help inform their CAO decisions.

“Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe needs to wake up to the fact that these cutbacks are regressive and must be reversed. Transition year and programmes such as the LCA cannot be looked at as a luxury to be cast aside when times get tough. It must be recognised as a staple of Ireland’s education system.” ENDS

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