Government must step in and work to reduce the cost of Gaeltacht placement for student teachers in private colleges, according to the Union of Students in Ireland.
No student should be charged an extra fee to complete a mandatory and integral part of their college course and USI is calling on Ministers Simon Harris, Norma Foley and Catherine Martin to ensure this is the case for students of Hibernia College.
The fee charged for the mandatory Gaeltacht placement for student teachers was waived in Budget 2020 through the reintroduction of the Gaeltacht Grant, something for which USI had campaigned heavily in the years prior.
However, students in Hibernia College are ineligible for this grant as Hibernia is a private college, something which USI says must change urgently.
USI Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge, Clíodhna Ní Dhufaigh said: “Supports like this should be made available to students regardless of where they study. This discrepancy has become a particular concern this year when Gaeltacht placements will take place online and despite costs such as food and accommodation no longer being applicable, students are still being charged high fees.”
The Gaeltacht course will cost €650 per fortnight rather than the €750 of previous years.
The aim of Gaeltacht placement is to fully immerse student teachers in Irish as well as the culture and history of the Gaeltacht for a two-week period.
Despite the COVID-19 restrictions students in private colleges are being charged a high fee for a vastly different experience than in previous years. This is unfair and USI supports the student teachers in calling for a resolution to this issue which will be impacting over 1,750 students across Ireland in the coming months.
You can sign the petition by Hibernia College students here.