Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Further and Higher Education Rose Conway-Walsh has called on the government to ensure that student teachers are treated fairly.
Conway-Walsh’s comments come as 1,750 student teachers in Hibernia College learned that they will be charged up to 1,300 euro for online language lessons to replace the Gaeltacht requirement of their course.
Teachta Conway-Walsh said:
“The government needs to explain why the Gaeltacht grant being provided to students in public universities has not been extended to all student teachers.
“These students have been completely forgotten by the government.
“Successive governments have made the conscious decision to ensure that a substantial proportion of teacher training is provided by private colleges.
“This should not be used now as an excuse by the government to take a hands-off approach to support students.
“Students of private colleges are already excluded from other state-funded supports such as SUSI grants, the Student Assistance Fund, the €250 Covid support and the 1916 Bursary Fund.
“Gaeltacht colleges have been extremely hard hit by the pandemic. It is right that they have a chance to provide the online lessons.
“All students in Professional Master of Education courses represent future teachers who are sorely needed by our education system. It is vital that the government ensure they are treated fairly.
“Under no circumstance can this cost be pushed onto students that have already seen their educational experience severely impacted.”