Access to third-level education


A chara, – You report that the Higher Education Authority (HEA) aims to “narrow the participation gap” at third level by increasing the number of students from “disadvantaged” backgrounds using bafflingly worded strategies such as “mainstreaming the delivery of equity of access” (“Mind the gap – the stark class divide in access to third level”, April 12th).

Surely a more sensible approach would be to simply decrease the number of students from middle-class families. The Higher Education Authority and the Trinity Access Programme go to great lengths to prevent our universities from being seen as elitist, but it is actually the elitism of parents that is responsible for the fact that the lower classes are significantly less likely to progress to our bloated third-level sector.

In Ireland, for some reason, it is considered ignominious among the middle classes to not attend third level. As a result of this ridiculous snobbery, we have the highest attendance rate in the EU, almost twice that of Germany, Europe’s strongest economy.

Everyone should have the right to attend third level, but this does not mean everyone ought to. – Is mise,