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Educational issues discussed at today’s meeting of the GFA Implementation Committee - Ferris

30 May, 2013 - by Martin Ferris TD

Pat Doherty, MP for West Tyrone, and Kerry North–West Limerick TD Martin Ferris attended today’s meeting of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement that was addressed by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn.

During the meeting, the Sinn Féin representatives raised a number of educational issues that affect both jurisdictions including the education survey that has been conducted in border regions and issues relating to the admission polices of third level colleges in the 26 counties.

Mr Doherty said: “The Education Survey in Border Regions was established to ascertain the current and future schooling needs of families living in border regions and how obstacles to accessing schools in either jurisdiction can be removed.

“We need to ensure parents are aware of the options they have when deciding on what is the best school for their children and today Sinn Féin called on Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to ensure the recommendations of the joint working group of the Departments of Education and the Department of Education and Skills are examined carefully and the policy implications of the survey findings given careful consideration.

“This is needed in order to explore the potential for joint action for cross border cooperation on important educational matters.”

Deputy Ferris has said Education Minister Ruairí Quinn must address the refusal of some third level institutions in the 26 counties to recognise accredited A-Level qualifications obtained by post-primary students in the North.

“The failure of colleges in the 26 Counties to recognise some A-Level qualifications from students at Post-Primary school in the North prevents many from pursuing a third level in the 26 counties, something that is borne out by the statistics which show the percentage of full-time third level enrolment numbers from the Six Counties is between 0.5 and 0.6% of the overall student intake.

“This very worrying statistic that can be attributed to the way A-Level examinations are assessed by colleges who seen to assign less value to higher level qualifications obtained at post-primary level in the North.

“There has to be greater co-operation between the Central Applications (CAO) Office and Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to ensure the entry system is fair for students applying to college on both sides of the border.”

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