October 6, 2021
Students feel misled regarding access to campus – Rose Conway-Walsh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Rose Conway-Walsh TD, has raised a number of issues in relation to the return to campus, warning that many student feel ‘disappointed and misled’.

Teachta Conway-Walsh said:

“It is certainly welcome that third-level students are returning to campus after studying remotely for almost 18 months.

“Unfortunately, we are hearing increasing reports of student with almost no in-persons classes this semester.

“We have seen protests at the lack of on-campus time for Trinity students and reports of a similar situation in a number of institutes of technology and technological universities.

“I put the question directly to the Minister at the Education Committee on the 22nd of July about what percentage of time students could expect to be on campus.

“Minister Harris claimed then that at a minimum we would see the full return of all classrooms, workshops, tutorial, labs etc. And that the only issue would be in relation to reduced capacity in larger lecture halls.

“At that time I stressed to the Minister that people understand the challenging environment in which these plans are being made. But they also expect an honest and clear assessment of what they should expect as they make plans regarding whether or not to defer, pay fees and accommodation etc.

“This warning seems to have been ignored and many students have been left feeling disappointed and misled.

“Students and parents should have been given an honest and clear assessment of what a return to campus would really look like.

“Positive news stories during the summer do not seem to be reflective of the reality for many students. Many now feel that they have made the wrong decisions around their education, transport and accommodation. Not for the first time since the beginning of this pandemic.

“I have written to the Minister seeking clarity on why there is such a variation on the return to campus at different institutions and why students were not informed prior to the beginning of the academic year.”

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