AAQA 1 Academic Teaching Staff Annual Leave and the Examination and Examination Appeals Process.

 

Proposed by: CIT SU

 

Congress recognises

That the current academic teaching staff annual leave agreement has significant repercussions for the examination and examination appeals process and that furthermore that the current situation in some institutions where students who appeal their summer examination results will not receive the outcome of this appeal until after the Autumn examinations take place is grossly unfair to students and almost defeats the purpose of appealing an examination result.

 

Congress further recognises

That this agreement has led, in several institutions, to Christmas examinations being scheduled before as well as after the festive period in turn delaying the examination results and appeals process, as well as many academics in third level institutions being on annual leave during the summer from the 20th June to 1st September similarly delaying the examination results and appeals process.

 

Congress believes

That this current system in regards to academic teaching staff annual leave affects the academic quality of service delivered to students in terms of students having to wait for up to four months to receive the outcome of an examination result appeal and in many cases having no other choice than to sit Autumn exams in failed modules to secure their chances of progressing to the next year of study or in order to be conferred at the next available sitting.

 

Congress further believes

The adjustment of bringing forward the start of the academic calendar by one week will alleviate the pressures on the examination correction period and the processing of appeals and that the current length of lecturing staffs’ summer break should be looked at and compared to other members of the public sector’s holiday entitlements.

Congress therefore mandates

The Vice President for Academic Affairs & Quality Assurance and the President to negotiate with the relevant bodies to adjust the academic teaching staffs working calendar.

 

AAQA 2 Investment in Education

Proposed by: Education Working Group

Congress notes

The Brazilian method for corporate investment in education, i.e. 1.5% of corporate profits are re-invested into research and development.

Congress further notes

That this decision was reached collaboratively between Government, business and universities and has produced beneficial results.

Congress Mandates

All members of Officer Board to lobby for a similar system for investment in third level in Ireland.

 

AAQA 3 Financial concerns

Proposed by: Education Working Group

Congress notes

That both education and welfare officers deal with financial issues in their Students’ Unions.

Congress further notes

That the current structure of working groups does not allow for optimum access to support for all officers on financial issues and casework.

Congress mandates

VP Welfare and VP AAQA to collaborate to ensure that relevant officers receive training and support on financial issues.

Congress further mandates

VP Welfare and VP AAQA to run a working group on the issue at suitable event before September.

AAQA 4 Students outside the grant threshold:

Proposed by: NUIG SU

Congress notes:

The valuable work undertaken by USI and MOs in relation to preserving the student grant and fighting for its retention

Congress further notes:

The importance of the student grant in allowing students from challenging socio-economic backgrounds to attend third level education in Ireland, but also must acknowledge the difficulty for students and families who are not in receipt of the grant or any other financial bursaries from the state.

Congress therefore mandates:

The VP AAQA to undertake campaigns and strategies to increase awareness about the financial difficulties facing students not in receipt of the grant, and to campaign for the means testing of the grant to take place after tax has been deducted from the gross household income.

 

AAQA 5 Universal fee payment dates

Proposed by: VP AAQA

Congress notes

That there are a number of different ways in which students are expected to pay their Student Contribution Charge, depending on the institution.

Congress Further Notes

This may create confusion among students. Furthermore some systems are more sympathetic to students than others.

Congress Mandates

VP AAQA and VP Welfare to work with Students’ Unions and the relevant groups to establish universal payment dates in institutions.

Congress Further Mandates

VP AAQA and VP Welfare to work with Students’ Unions and the relevant groups to set a universal payment method in institutions.

AAQA 6 Irish water & the grant

Proposed by: DCUSU

Congress notes

The introduction of a household charge for water on foot of the creation of Irish Water.

Congress further notes

The revised charging system introduced through the Water Services Act 2014. This includes a ‘Water Conservation Grant’ of €100 which Irish Water applicants can obtain through the Department of Social Protection, administered on behalf of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

Congress is concerned that

This payment may be taken into account in Income assessments of student grants and that this could affect applicants who are on the border of eligibility.

Congress therefore mandates

The Vice-President for Academic Affairs & Quality Assurance to lobby the relevant authority to see that the ‘Water Conservation Grant’ is not assessed as a source of Income and that it is put on the list of Disregarded Sources of Income.

 

AAQA 7 Technological university supports

Proposed by: USI VP Southern Region

 

Congress acknowledges:

The work, which has been done to date with MO’s going through the Technological University (TU) process.

Congress also acknowledges:

The integral role of Students’ Unions in these MO’s to informing students of their rights and safeguarding them in the TU process.

Congress mandates:

The Vice President for the South, BMW and Dublin to engage with Students’ Unions in MO’s currently going through the TU process.

Congress also mandates:

The Vice President for the South, BMW and Dublin to work actively with Students’ Unions in MO’s who in the future may be involved in a TU process.

AAQA 8 Student Governance

Proposed by: NUIG SU

Congress notes with concern:

The importance of participation in all levels of governance of higher education institutions.

Congress further notes:

Some bureaucratic management practices in higher education institutions can lead to a lack of openness and which can impede the efforts of student representatives.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President and Vice-President for Academic affairs and Quality Assurance to encourage all HEIs to examine governance structures at all levels, and to ensure students are represented.

 

AAQA 9 Lateral Violence

Proposed by: the Education Working Group

Congress notes

That the issue of lateral violence in Health Sciences, particularly nursing and midwifery is well recognised in many countries including the USA and Australia.

Congress further notes

That similar recognition does not exist in Ireland in spite of the detrimental effect on those training or employed in these areas.

Congress therefore mandates

The Vice President for AAQA and Vice President for Welfare to investigate the extent of the problem in Ireland and the subsequent consequences for those effected with a view to informing Member Organisations on the issue.

 

AAQA 10 Cross-border student mobility

 

Proposed by NUS-USI President

 

Congress believes:

 

  • Currently there is very low cross-border student mobility between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

 

  • That education should be free and fairly funded- this also goes for the students who chose to travel over the border for their education.

 

  • Every student should be able to access support for travel, course costs, maintenance support and studying cross-border should not be a barrier to support.

 

 

Congress notes:

 

  • In 1996/97, almost one in 10 students in the NI colleges were from the Republic – 9.3%, but in 2012/13, this fell to just 5.5%.

 

  • The number of RoI domiciled students enrolled in NI Higher Education Institutions in 2012/13 was 2,835 and the number of RoI students studying in FE institutions in 2012/13 was 3,324.

 

  • In 2012/13 only 980 students from NI travelled over the border to study in Irish institutions.

 

  • RoI students in NI often have trouble accessing the right information about the SUSI grant which is available to them, which can then lead to financial hardship.

 

 

Congress mandates:

 

  • VPAAQA to work with the NUS-USI President to explore ways we can increase cross-border student mobility

 

  • VPAAQA to work with NUS-USI to lobby the respective governments to provide adequate financial support for students studying over the border