Monday, October 19, 2009

Does A "Gap Year" Have Benefits?

Several employers are calling for the introduction of a compulsory gap year after the Leaving Cert, it has been reported. The report also says that a review compiled by the Irish Business and Employers Confederation suggests that pupils could develop their skills by working on a voluntary basis in the community for a year. While this is a classic case of self-selection (for now, at least), it could be worth asking about gap-years in future surveys of Irish college students.

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More from the Irish Independent: "A year out is one of the key recommendations in a submission from employers' group IBEC to a review body headed by Dr Colin Hunt reporting to Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe on a strategy for higher education... Other recommendations from IBEC include allowing third-level students manage their own subject choice rather than having it imposed by the college, making all post-graduate courses part-time, and providing more online teaching."

6 comments:

Kevin Denny said...

I am not sure what the logic for the gap year is- is it just so that they are one year older & more mature? Maybe a good idea but there might be better ways of achieving this. A year out of study might break the study habit. On the other hand if you think that the Leaving Cert generates bad study habits (as I do) that might be a good thing.

What would be the point in asking about this in a survey? It would not tell you about the benefits or costs.

As for allowing students to manage their own courses, increasingly they do, at least in UCD.

Liam Delaney said...

the idea of making it compulsory is completely insane and I am assuming that someone somewhere was misquoted somewhere on the chain.

Liam Delaney said...

asking it as a survey question is not a bad idea. I think the idea Kevin is that you could try to model "participation" in a gap-year and try to exogenise it somewhat and work out the effects on college performance and wellbeing

Kevin Denny said...

Ok, I thought the question envisaged was attitudinal ("Would you like to.." rather than "Did you.."). Difficult to find exogenous variation probably but we live in hope. With time variation you might get identification from labour market conditions.

Martin Ryan said...

The idea was indeed to look at the effects of a gap-year on academic performance and college adjustment. Nothwithstanding all the potential econometric problems, and the fact that a gap-year can be a very different experience across individuals...

Liam Delaney said...

"making all post-graduate courses part-time". We have to get a copy of this report. This just doesnt sound like something anyone with any shred of credibility would propose in public. Certainly, thinking more about part-time postgrad courses and devising new options would be good but the idea of no full-time postgraduate courses. Silly, silly stuff and I really can't believe that such a recommendation would come from any serious process.