The Evolution of University Access Programmes in Ireland
Patricia O’ Reilly
The aim of this report is to explore the historical development of third level access programmes in Ireland, that is, programmes aimed at improving access to third level education by the socio-economically disadvantaged. One key objective is to locate the UCD higher education access programme – New ERA – within the context of developments in national policy and access initiatives in Ireland. The report also presents a brief overview of previous evaluations of targeted initiatives in Ireland as well as barriers to Higher Education as outlined by Lynch & O Riordan’s 1996 study which provided the framework for the development of New ERA. Section 2 provides a definition of ‘access’ and ‘disadvantage’. Section 3 discusses the development of relevant policy on access to higher education. Section 4 examines previous evaluations of targeted initiatives. Section 5 describes the evolution of New ERA and section 6 places the New ERA programme in the context of tackling barriers to access as outlined by Lynch & O’Riordan. Section 7 focuses on current and possible future developments in the New ERA access programme and finally section 8 concludes.
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