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Sinn Féin MLA’s call for Minister to allot total extra student numbers to Magee Campus

3 October, 2011 - by Maeve McLaughlin, Raymond McCartney

Speaking prior to an Assembly Debate tomorrow (Tuesday) on the need for additional student places at Magee Campus, Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney MLA (Foyle) will impress on the Minister that the expansion of the Campus is essential to the of the North West Regional regeneration plan.

Raymond McCartney said: 

“The Minister has stated that he will make 600 new university places available this year. I will impress on the Minister that it is our considered opinion that all of these places should be allocated to Magee. 

“This would provide for a more qualitative outcome generally than spreading them out across all of the university campuses. If the Minister would allocate all 600 places to Derry, the benefits to the local economy and to the growth of the university would be invaluable. 

 Party colleague and Junior Minister, Martina Anderson MLA added:

“I will be asking the Minister, in line with his party’s manifesto commitments regarding the expansion of Magee to reflect on the limited impact that spreading the 600 places across universities and Colleges would have as opposed to the positive and widespread impact it would have if all 600 places are allocated to Magee.

“I appreciate that the Minister has previously expressed his understanding of the importance of Magee expansion. He now has the opportunity to act on that understanding and deliver these additional places. Given that 6000 students applied last year for less than 730 places - 5 students competing for every place available - is evidence of the demand.

“I will also be asking the Minister if he will explore further with University of Ulster to ascertain the breakdown of applications for STEM courses?  How many of the 6000 applied for STEM courses and are all the places for current STEM subjects being filled?   

“Magee’s bid for 1,000 additional undergraduates is the linchpin in the University of Ulster’s strategic plan and is an important building block towards the target of 9,400 students by 2020

“If Magee is to take a significant step towards the kind of university presence envisaged in Derry City’s Regeneration plan, it needs DEL to allocate in the first instance the total additional 600 student places to the Magee campus”

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