The Union of Students in Ireland is calling for immediate clarity on when the new academic year will start for colleges and universities after the delay of the Leaving Certificate results caused yet more uncertainty for students.
USI President, Lorna Fitzpatrick said the delay of the Leaving Certificate results announced last night is unfair on students hoping to start third-level in the autumn who have already faced so much change and uncertainty this year.
Lorna said: “There have been so many U-turns, delays and changes to what was happening around the Leaving Certificate that this further delay is very disappointing for students planning to start college or university this year. The turn-around time between the results coming out, CAO and UCAS offers being made and college starting is now extremely short, which heaps yet more pressure on students.
“There can be no more changes and delays now and institutions need to set out for students when the new academic year will start and what it will look like. This has an impact on every year group – students just don’t know what is happening. We need to know when the new year will start. How much remote learning will there be? How often will students be on campus? This just can’t drag on any more at this stage.”
“We are also calling for the SUSI priority deadline to be extended so that students who apply now can still get priority status in light of all that has happened. It would take a little bit of pressure off students who have been repeatedly been told one thing would happen, and then another. They need some support and certainty now.”
The USI also expresses its disappointment at the manner in which this decision was announced.
Lorna said: “We have to wonder when we would have found out what was happening if questions hadn’t been asked in the Dáil yesterday? There was no real or meaningful engagement with students and their representatives when this decision was being made. The Department of Education needs to seriously reassess their approach to decision making on the Leaving Certificate and the value they place on engaging with students. For instance, why are students being asked to re-confirm that they want to receive their predicted grades, when they have already opted into the system? This latest delay seems unnecessary to us and we feel that not enough was done to prevent this from happening.”