Being Young and Irish

President Michael D. Higgins is to met with representatives from the Union of Students in Ireland and its member Students’ Unions tomorrow in Áras an Uachtaráin at 4.30pm Tuesday the 18th of September. The meeting was intended to give student representatives a chance to discuss the President’s Being Young and Irish 2012 initiative.

The Being Young and Irish 2012 initiative seeks to advance the national discourse on inclusion by harnessing the power of young people, enabling them to participate and be more involved. The President is inviting young people aged 17 – 26 to contribute practical suggestions for the improvement of Irish society through an online consultation process and in regional workshops. The consultation will culminate with the President’s first national seminar, which will take place later this year.

 USI along with ITSSU have welcomed the President’s initiative and his willingness to engage with young people in a meaningful and constructive manner.

 Presidents from twenty three Students’ Unions will attend the meeting, along with USI’s Officer Board. The visiting Students’ Unions include:

Institute of Technology Blanchardstown

Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology

National University of Ireland Galway

Waterford Institute of Technology

IT Tallaght

National College of Ireland

St. Angela’s College Sligo

Dublin Institute of Technology

Limerick Institute of Technology

Letterkenny Institute of Technology

NUI Maynooth

Dundalk Institute of Technology

University College Dublin

University College Cork

Institute of Technology Carlow

Trinity College Dublin

Institute of Technology Sligo

Athlone Institute of Technology

Mater Dei Institute

Queens University Belfast

Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

IT Tralee

LIT Tipperary

Submissions can be made online at:

The deadline for submissions is September 29.

Emigration the ‘new permanency’ for graduate teachers

Emigration the ‘new permanency’ for graduate teachers


TEACHING GRADUATES have no option but to emigrate because of the jobs crisis in Ireland and the introduction of vastly reduced pay for new entrants to the profession, a young teacher said yesterday.

Aoife Ní Mháille – a 24-year-old Irish-language graduate – said emigration is “ the new permanency” for a huge number of graduates who have no realistic prospect of securing full-time work in Ireland.

Her emotional address drew a standing ovation at the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) conference .

Ms Ní Mháille from Carrigallen, Leitrim, is completing a master’s in education at Trinity College Dublin. She told delegates: “Teaching positions – not to mention the very rare permanency – are as hot as the Adele tickets for the Olympia last month”.

“As graduate teachers struggle to become an active part of the school community through part-time work, it has become apparent that our best chance of finding full-time work is to find it abroad – emigration is the new permanency. But emigration is not an option for me as an Irish teacher.”

A recent union survey found 12 per cent of graduating teachers do not plan to seek teaching work in Ireland due to the lack of secure jobs. More than half believe they will not have a secure teaching job in five years.

As well as having poor job prospects, new teachers also face a 14 per cent pay cut and much reduced pension entitlements.

Ms Ní Mháille recalled how there was no mention of these new realities when she registered for her master’s. “Logically, I did the right thing in getting my master’s. But, as it turns out, my decision to improve my subject expertise could cost me dearly . . . Now, I face a decrease in potential wages of more than €5,000 in just my first year teaching. I don’t even want to think about what that will equate to over a 40-year career.”

She also said the proposed cuts for new entrants were grossly unfair and will cause unbalanced working conditions in Irish schools.

The Government, she said, is “naive to think that graduates won’t be hurt by this unjust treatment or that inter-teacher relations, which are crucial to the running of a school, will not be weakened by such harsh proposals. The courses haven’t changed, the fees haven’t changed, and the calibre of students hasn’t changed, so why is the pay being changed?”

The Irish Times – Friday, April 29, 2011

Opportunities for mature students

Although most of the focus during the college application period is on school leavers, significant numbers of college applicants each year are non-standard applicants, including mature applicants, ie applicants over 23 years of age.

Last year’s (2010) CAO application figures showed that 14,696 of a total of about 77,628 applicants were “mature”; this figure represented just under 19% of all applicants. Quotas of places are held in many courses for applicants of mature years.

Prospective mature applicants can get a general overview of their opportunities for example, on the Qualifax website,, where they will find a number of sites devoted to mature entry.

All higher education institutions (HEIs) are anxious to help mature students make informed decisions, and they have many support services in place.

College websites are a most sophisticated source of information for all applicants, and lists of websites addresses of HEIs can be quickly accessed directly or through CAO’s website, Many college websites have dedicated sections for mature applicants, geared to answer their specific questions. CAO’s handbook, also available online, contains much information for mature applicants, including details of how they should apply.

As mature applicants to nursing degrees will know, there are separate CAO codes for standard and mature applicants to all nursing degree programmes.

It is always advisable for any college applicant to visit a campus and talk to college staff, particularly the mature student officer.

Q Must mature students meet the same points requirements as school leavers?

A No. Mature applicants will usually be considered on the basis of other criteria, although some may use their Leaving results.

All college courses attract applications from mature applicants and there is no uniform selection mechanism. There are many opinions on the different selection mechanisms that are appropriate and practical.

Trinity College, for example, requires some mature applicants to pass some kinds of test. Applicants to music courses must sit the same written test as all applicants to music; mature applicants to English courses are asked to write an essay, while those applying to psychology are required to sit an aptitude test. Mature applicants to nursing in any college must also sit tests.

Even within different HEIs, different faculties will adopt different approaches to mature students’ selection procedures. UCD and UCC introduced a pilot scheme a couple of years ago whereby mature applicants to most Arts and Social Science degree programmes take an aptitude test called the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP). NUI Galway has also decided to use the same MSAP test for applicants to courses in its College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies.

So as well as applying to CAO, prospective mature applicants to those courses in those three universities must register for the MSAP admissions test for a fee of €65 by February 1. Further details may be obtained on

Applicants who achieve over 60% in the UCD Adult Education Course ‘Access to Arts and Human Sciences’ are not required to sit the MSAP.

Information session: Today, Trinity College Dublin will hold a dedicated information session for Mature Student applicants from 4.30pm to 7.30pm in the Arts Building in Trinity. A series of talks will run simultaneously every half hour throughout the session and these will cover all faculties. The schedule is available on apply/

Irish Independent – January 13 2011




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