Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has strongly criticised university leaders for failing to come up with reforms aimed at easing pressure on students applying for third-level places.

The Hyland Report detailed concrete steps the universities could take to reduce points and so ease the pressures, which it said distort both teaching and learning in secondary school.

Universities welcomed the report, which was published last September, and promised to respond with their own proposals, however Mr Quinn has now criticised their delay in doing so.

The minister said they have complained of having to ''reprogramme'' students once they got to college.

However, he said it was them who controlled entry to higher education and decisions they took could change what happens in secondary schools.

In response, the Irish Universities Association told RTÉ News that the issue is being given full and intensive consideration.

It said a report will be sent to Minister Quinn within three or four weeks.