Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education Rose Conway-Walsh TD has said there is widespread frustration among students and parents at reports of sustained levels of grade inflation and the use of a lottery system to allocated high-demand courses.
Teachta Conway-Walsh said: "It is disappointing to see reports that the CAO system will again use a lottery system to allocated places on in-demand courses. It is unfair on students that are already dealing with a huge amount of pressure. What is needed now is for students to know that everything is being done to help them to progress in their education and careers.
"The department of Education needs to get a handle on grade inflation, and we also need to expand in-demand courses particularly in areas where we have skill shortages. We know from past years that the number of additional places announced to take pressure off the system does not reflect the reality on the ground.
"Last year we were told over 5,000 additional places were added to ease pressure on grade inflation, yet in the end only 2,500 additional offers were made by the CAO - only 500 over what was needed to match increased demographic demand. Each year the number of applicants to the CAO system increases, yet this has not been matched by additional places on the most in-demand courses.
"The government needs to join the dots between skill shortages in our society and places in education. The fact that the government is again scrambling at the 11th hour to try and deal with this situation is extremely disappointing and shows a disregard for students. That said, it is not too late if decisive action is taken now to increase places and control grade inflation."