The Union of Students in Ireland, along with student leaders across the island, is committed to ensuring that no student is disadvantaged as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, when it comes to assessment.
To that end, we are engaging in on-going discussion with a range of stakeholders to ensure students are supported throughout this uncertain period.
We recognise the numerous consequences this may bring for students; many of whom are having difficulties in accessing the internet, may not have the devices to engage in online assessment, may be caring for family members who are unwell or are unwell themselves.
We have been constructively engaging on a national level with stakeholders from across the sector through the Tertiary Education Sector Group, which is led by the Department of Education and Skills. We have continuously called for partnerships between individual Higher Education Institutions and their local Students’ Unions to ensure that the student voice is included at all levels of decision making during this time. The quality of higher education degrees and of our education system must not be compromised as a result of COVID-19.
The recent calls by students for policies to support the aim of ensuring no student is disadvantaged at this time echo calls we have been making since the beginning of the pandemic. We strongly believe that Higher Education Institutions, in partnership with their students, need to develop policies that are suitable for, and supportive of, their students and align with other arrangements within their Institution.
The details of these policies need to be worked out within the individual institutions as there are many different forms of alternative assessment and so there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach that can be applied equally across all institutions.
We have developed a briefing paper and have held briefing sessions with our member Students’ Unions to support them in developing these policies locally, in partnership with their institutions and continue to engage constructively at a national level with the relevant representative bodies in the sector.
This is an unprecedented time and we will continue to engage with all stakeholders in a constructive manner to find solutions that will ensure students are supported and protected to the highest possible standard during this pandemic.