Call for 'fair play for Donegal's college students and their families
There has been a call for “fair play” for Donegal students and their families regarding tuition fees and accommodation costs during the Covid-19 restrictions.
Speaking at Monday's meeting of Donegal County Council, Carndonagh councillor Albert Doherty (Sinn Féin) said it was “incumbent on the colleges and private landlords to ensure that accommodation fees were reimbursed”.
Cllr Doherty said: “The families and students of Donegal deserve fair play and must not be penalised by college, landlord or State for the numerous Covid-19 disruptions to education provision that has occurred since March 2020.
“Students have had classes cancelled, exams cancelled, results delayed and results amended. Students and their families have committed to payment of course fees, payment of accommodation costs to colleges and private landlords in preparation for a resumption or commencement of their third level education.
“In many cases, as late as last week, colleges and universities have amended their timetables and their education courses provision to remote or online teaching only. It is now incumbent on the Colleges and private landlords to ensure that accommodation fees are reimbursed.
“Remote lectures delivered, while welcome, greatly diminishes the students resources and benefits in lieu of the college experience. Remote and Blended learning experiences will be further interrupted through inadequate broadband availability provision in rural parts of Donegal,” said Cllr Doherty.
The motion was passed unanimously by Donegal County Council and will now be forwarded to Ministers Foley and Harris,(Education and Higher Education), Ministers Humphreys and Ryan (Community and Rural Development and Communication Networks and Transport) for their attention and response.
According to Cllr Doherty, National Broadband Ireland (NBI) has stated the National Broadband Plan can be delivered in five years, if, it cautions, Covid-19 does not wreak havoc.
He added: “Donegal’s needs and deserves, with priority consideration from NBI, rural broadband delivery.
“We are seeking from government a level playing field and the equal provision of educational and economic opportunities for families and students in Donegal,” concluded Cllr Doherty.
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