Allocation of agricultural college places to change
Teagasc is to implement a new centralised application system in order to streamline the allocation of agricultural college places for 2012.
The new system will mean that all students who apply for a place in Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture courses in each of the six agricultural colleges will have their applications processed at a central point. All students will then be invited to take an entrance examination at their college of choice. The same exam will be held at the six colleges on the same day next summer. The exam date has been provisionally set for June 27.
Demand for student places at agricultural colleges hit the headlines last summer as the number of applications soared and it appeared that hundreds of students would be turned away.
However, a raft of measures implemented by Teagasc resulted in an increase in the number of places offered. These measures included redeploying staff from advisory to teaching posts, changes in class timetables, the introduction of contract teaching positions and a last-minute reprieve from the recruitment embargo.
As a consequence, enrolments have increased by 180, bringing the total number of enrolments to 1,322.
Teagasc also offered nine new part-time courses at local education centres, with an additional three part-time Certificate in Agriculture courses due to start in the spring.
Some 218 people enrolled in part-time Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture courses this year, while a further 302 people enrolled in existing part-time Advanced Certificate in Agriculture courses. A further 594 learners are also participating in the Advanced Certificate in Agriculture for Award Holders.
Paddy Browne , Teagasc's head of education, said the measures resulted in every college, with the exception of Kildalton, offering places to all students on their respective waiting lists.