The particular challenges presented for students in the higher and further education sectors are highlighted by a call for a ‘No Detriment’ policy for third level education, which is supported by the Social Democrats.

Gary Gannon TD, Social Democrats spokesperson on Education said:

“We strongly support a ‘No Detriment’ or ‘Help, Not Hinder’ approach for students currently in third level institutes. The huge variation in access to learning, environments in which to study and complete assignments, and individual student circumstances in caring or work responsibilities means that many students will not be able to perform to the academic standard they normally would.

“A basic safety net for all students would be to ensure that once the student passes their exams, their average grade attained up to this point does not decrease. This ‘no detriment’ policy, adopted uniformly in third level institutes across the country, would provide welcome relief for students and would ensure that their future academic or career prospects are not hindered unduly by the Covid19 pandemic.

“We are calling on the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor to liaise with the heads of third level institutions to ensure that this approach is put in place across all institutions.”

Petitions were launched last week calling on Irish third level institutes to implement such a ‘No Detriment’. This approach has been widely adopted in a wide range of universities in the UK.

“While some universities, for example UCD, have relaxed their extenuating circumstances policies and extended options for deferral, a more comprehensive blanket policy to accommodate large groups of students affected is needed. Students fortunate enough to have access to high speed broadband, a quiet home environment and who are not working extended hours as essential workers will still be able to improve their grade averages if the ‘No Detriment’ Policy is implemented. Those who achieve results higher than their grade average will be unaffected and GPA will rise as normal. The policy simply outlines that students who pass exams but achieve grades lower than their usual academic average will not be penalised and their GPA will remain unaffected” concluded Gannon.

6th April 2020

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