TDs and priests in Ag college lobbying
Published 07/09/2010 | 05:00
Up to 250 applicants languish on waiting lists in the hope that they will get a chance to study agriculture full time.
The volume of applications is at a level many colleges have not experienced since the 1980s.
Some principals have admitted to coming under huge pressure from parents, parish priests, and even TDs, lobbying for students who are seeking places in agricultural colleges around the country.
Colleges report several reasons for the spike in interest, but one of the main reasons given is this year's huge jump in points requirements to get on to agriculture courses at degree level.
The extent of the points hike was highlighted by the entry requirements to study agriculture in Dundalk Institute of Technology, which jumped by nearly 20pc, or 50 points.
These hikes created a spill-over from students who failed to gain entry to these higher-level courses into Level 5 courses.
Unfortunately for some, they now find themselves on waiting lists, since most Level 5 courses were already full by the time the Central Applications Office offers were made.
Paddy Browne, head of education with Teagasc, attributed the rise in demand to a greater appreciation of the value of the agriculture sector, as well as an overhang from the last decade.