In an editorial in today’s Irish Independent:
QUESTIONS about the fairness or otherwise of an aptitude test for medical school applicants have sparked a heated debate about discrimination against women.
On Tuesday, a prominent educationalist suggested in this newspaper that medical faculty applicants who achieved very high points in the Leaving Certificate but failed to obtain admission because they had performed relatively poorly in an aptitude test had serious cause for grievance.
His views on the Australian-style HPAT have been hailed as a breath of fresh air by parents of those who have fallen foul of the system and criticised by those who believe that even a perfect score in the State’s curriculum should not automatically open the way to a career in medicine.
These are matters for debate and ought to be addressed by the minister’s people sooner rather than later.
The controversy widens however with the suggestion that HPAT has been instrumental in creating what a number of medical school heads have termed “gender balance”, described by a former Education Minister as sinister.
The suggestion is that the test favours those who have studied higher maths, which would tip the balance numerically in favour of the boys.
It seems patently unfair that a young woman who has set her heart on a career in medicine should achieve the highest academic targets set by the State education system only to have her ambition dashed by a process which is far from transparent.
This is another problem for the minister; one that will not go away.