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This paper examines the current position of mature students in the Technological University Dublin, the largest third-level institute in Ireland. It also deals with the treatment of mature applicants, and the position of mature students in the Republic of Ireland in general. The focus of the paper is on equity issues, and in all discussions of equity the underpinning principle is equality of opportunity. Where places on a third-level course are limited, for example, all applicants must be treated equally and the places allocated in a ‘fair’ manner. This does not mean that one cannot discriminate in the true sense of the word but that there should be no ‘unfair’ discrimination. Fair can be taken to mean that the criteria used to discriminate between applicants are appropriate and not arbitrary. For example, a given criterion, such as proficiency in a particular language, might be appropriate in one context and arbitrary in another.
Mag Cuill, Daire: Mature students - an examination of DIT’s policy and practice. Article published in Level3, Issue 1, November 2003.