Students who are totally unsuited to higher education are being shoehorned into universities by their parentsIrish Times due to a “snob value” over apprenticeships and training, according to senior academics.

Prof John Hegarty of the Royal Irish Academy said high student drop-out rates in some courses were a symptom of students who were not suited to college.

Ireland has the highest proportions of young people in Europe progressing on to higher education, with about 60 per cent of all school-leavers attending universities or institutes of technology.

By contrast, there has been a dramatic fall-off in the numbers taking part in apprenticeships or training.

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