Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Education
358. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will request QQI, CORU and other relevant bodies to review the requirement for 800 hours of unpaid placement to be completed by social care work students before graduation in view of the exceptional circumstances surrounding Covid-19; if alternative mechanisms can be found to allow sufficiently competent students to graduate and progress to paid employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6713/20]
Since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, significant work has been undertaken by a stakeholder group chaired by the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and including the representative bodies of education providers to address issues relating to the maintenance of the quality and standards of teaching and learning, assessment and qualifications. This group has focused on the implementation of alternative arrangements, where appropriate and necessary, to meet both these standards and, where applicable, the educational accreditation criteria established by Professional Recognition Bodies (PRBs).
In the case of Social Care, the awards standards established by QQI reflect the accreditation criteria that have been set out by CORU, Ireland's multi-profession Health and Social Care Regulator and consequently the relevant PRB for this profession. Engagement is ongoing between members of the stakeholders group, QQI and CORU to ensure that necessary arrangements are put in place to maintain standards of education and training in this area so that students graduate with the relevant professional competencies that have been set out by CORU and which are reflected in QQI’s award standards.
Like 2019, it is anticipated that the majority of my Department’s Third Level bursaries for 2020 will be awarded once results have issued with some bursaries withheld until all the appeals processes have been exhausted.