Parents have to take some of the responsibility for the low rate of third level participation by Laois students, according to Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn.
Speaking after he toured Portlaoise’s primary schools yesterday, May 13, he said students must be encouraged in the home to continue their education.
“Maybe in the past because there was better employment, people didn’t think in those terms, also in the home, parents must be encouraged to think of third level,” he said.
He said the low uptake will be tackled by the Laois Offaly education training board, which will replace VECs in July.
“We will be trying to use that to co-ordinate and promote greater awareness, and encourage students to go further,” he said.
He said that West of Ireland students had a higher rate of uptake because of the long awareness of a lack of jobs outside the farming sector.
Almost 30 per cent of Laois school leavers did not progress to third level, according to 2012 school league tables.
30 per cent went to university. Mountrath were most successful with 122 leaving cert students going on to attend third level.