Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has announced that the party will table an Assembly motion in support of students who facing challenges to learning as a result of Covid19.
The party’s Further & Higher Education spokesperson said:
“Earlier in the year we successfully lobbied for an increase to the money available to hard-pressed students through the Student Hardship Fund bringing the total to £5.6m.
“We are now calling for the grants available through this fund to be increased and the eligibility criteria broadened to allow more students to access it.
“We have also asked Minister Dodds to issue specific Covid19 advice and guidance to students on safety on and off campus, including guidance on mental health, wellbeing advice and contacts for support organisations.
“Any students seeking to defer for a year should engage directly with their University or College and we have called on these institutions to be flexible and compassionate in their dealing with students who for whatever reason have to defer or leave their course.
“The Economy Minister must work with Colleges, Universities and with student representatives to explore how best to protect student learning, mental health and wellbeing and how to support students in overcoming financial barriers.”