Students are deserting courses in building and property at third level as concern about the housing market deepens. The latest figures from the CAO show a drop of almost one-third in the number of students applying for higher-level degree courses in these and related areas. The fall-off in demand for these courses at ordinary and certificate level is even greater – at more than 40 per cent. The CAO figures, based on options selected by Leaving Cert students and others in January, also show a decline in demand for courses – such as law and nursing – which have attracted negative media publicity. Parents tend to play a major role in shaping CAO choices and their influence can be seen in the figures. Demand for higher-degree courses in law is down by more than 4 per cent, a trend possibly linked to recent publicity about rogue solicitors. Demand in nursing, which has been beset by industrial relations difficulties, is down by more than 6 per cent. The decline in the area of the built environment reflects the slowdown in demand for courses such as construction studies, surveying and planning. In a related trend, demand for courses in architecture is also down by more than 7 per cent.
The Irish Times