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Wednesday 21 February 2018

More people choosing grind route to study Leaving Cert in downturn

Shane Hickey

THE continual downturn in the economy has resulted in more people who had been in jobs turning to grind schools to study for the Leaving Certificate.

The schools have also been hit by the recession, with some saying their numbers are down but others reporting increased enrolments.

One school, the Ormonde Education Group in Dublin, said numbers have not increased due to a lack of money.

"The economic situation means a lot of people are watching their money, obviously. As a result, day numbers will not increase greatly," said principal John Kilroy.

"There is a lot of interest from people coming back to do their Leaving Cert who have been out of school for a few years. The cutbacks in schools mean there is interest in single subjects as the state doesn't offer these anymore."

Grind schools are popular among those who want to top-up their existing classes with more study on a part-time basis.

Brookfield College in Tralee, Co Kerry, said it is experiencing a similar drop in numbers. "Our numbers would have been bigger two years ago than now," principal Elisha Dowling said.

"Before, people were paying upfront or in installments; now we can have standing orders set up," Mr Dowling said.

Some schools have said there is light at the end of the tunnel however.

Ray Kearns, who heads the Institute of Education in Dublin said there was an increase in all its courses. "Parents recognise the fact that the ladder to success is via education," he said.

Aidan Cleary, deputy principal of Hewitt College in Cork, said attendances were down last year, but this had reversed slightly this year. "There was an initial decrease when the downturn began, but it is beginning to pick up again," he said.

Irish Independent

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