Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Third Level Education

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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281. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the advice that has issued from his Department to third-level colleges in relation to student placements at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56692/21]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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Student placements are organised at the level of each individual Higher Education Institution (HEI), as part of their programme offerings to be delivered in conjunction with relevant placement providers. Where appropriate, each HEI develops their programme offerings to meet the accreditation standards of relevant regulatory and professional recognition bodies (PRBs) including where placements are a requirement.

From the initial onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, significant work was undertaken by a stakeholder group chaired by the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), and including the representative bodies of education providers and students 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 and methods of delivery, where appropriate and necessary, to meet both these standards and, where applicable, the educational accreditation criteria established by PRBs.

Since March 2020, QQI has facilitated engagement between members of the stakeholders group and PRBs which have taken place in parallel to direct engagements between PRBs and individual education providers at a local and regional level. These engagements have ensured that, where possible and when necessary, alternative and flexible arrangements are in place for student placements while safeguarding the standards of education and training. These efforts are to ensure that students can progress in their programmes from one academic year into the next, or, where relevant, graduate with the necessary professional competencies that have been set out by the PRBs.

Students should continue to engage directly with their provider for further information on the arrangements being implemented for their particular year and programme.


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