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DeafHear Regional News

Regional News

 

Small increase in numbers of
Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in Higher Education

Posted: 22nd February 2017

DeafHear.ie Small increase in numbers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in Higher  Education 2017.

The Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD) have recently reported on the participation rates of students with disabilities in Higher Level education. For the second year running there has been a small increase in the numbers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in Higher Education. In the most recent academic year of 2015–2016 the numbers increased to 313, up from 295 the previous year.

There was a small increase in the same period in the overall numbers of students with disabilities at Third Level from 10,773 to 11,244 – an increase of 4.4%.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing students make up 2.8% of this group of students.

How good are these figures?

In order to establish whether or not the numbers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in Higher Education is satisfactory, we need to examine how many students with hearing loss are attending second level schools and compare their progression rate with those of the general student population.

1–2 children per thousand are born with a hearing loss, and it is estimated that approximately one in every 2,000 children will be born with a moderate or greater bilateral hearing loss. The numbers of children with this level of hearing loss increases during childhood and will double by ten years of age. This means that by 18 years of age there would be approximately 300 young people with a moderate or greater bilateral hearing loss, who could be finishing second level education.

AHEAD reported that there were 90 new entrants to Higher Education in 2015 who were Deaf or Hard of Hearing, which was a welcome 14% increase on the previous year. However, this would represent a participation rate of just 30%, well under half the participation rate for the general student population. Therefore, despite these modest increases, Deaf and Hard of Hearing students continue to be seriously underrepresented in Higher Education.

 

Deaf and Hard of Hearing students continue
to be seriously underrepresented in
Higher Education


Looking ahead

There is some evidence in the AHEAD report that Deaf and Hard of Hearing students are not achieving their full potential in our primary and secondary schools. This year, the Visiting Teacher Service will move from the Department of Education to the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), the NCSE will establish the Inclusion Support Service, and the Government has promised to develop an implementation plan for the NCSE policy advice report on Deaf Education.

However, these changes will only be cosmetic unless there is a clear and focussed effort to assess and improve the outcomes for Deaf and Hard of Hearing pupils in our schools.

The first step on this journey should be to assess how well these students are doing at present. The Education Partnership Group, a group of stakeholders interested in Deaf Education, have recently asked the NCSE to examine this by comparing the outcomes for Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and their hearing peers in primary schools on standardised tests, such as the Drumcondra reading and numeracy tests. “This information is available to the NCSE and the Department, and it should be used to give a clear indication to parents and teachers on how well this cohort of children are doing in our schools” says Brendan Lennon, DeafHear’s Head of Advocacy. This is standard practice in the UK he adds.

The NCSE vision for Deaf Education is that Deaf and Hard of Hearing pupils achieve outcomes on a par with their hearing peers. Unless we know the outcomes, we cannot have any confidence that the vision is a reality. DeafHear hopes that the NCSE will progress this action as soon as possible, so that we can look forward to significantly more Deaf and Hard of Hearing students progressing to Higher Education in the years ahead.

 

Resources

Download

Numbers of Students with Disabilities Studying in Higher Education in Ireland 2015/16

Download File

The Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children in Ireland (NCSE 201)

Download File
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Media Contacts

DeafHear.ie will provide spokespersons to comment on issues relevant to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people on request.

To contact Brendan Lennon; Head of Information and Policy, click here...

 

    


 

more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.

 

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