The Technological Higher Education Association released a statement on June 16, urging students to begin and continue studies for the coming year. This is despite a leaked report in May 2020, which claimed “Significant numbers of Leaving Cert students are likely to defer taking up college places this year because of disruption linked to the coronavirus pandemic” according to the Irish Times.
THEA CEO Dr Joseph Ryan has called upon leaving cert students to accept their CAO offers for the coming semester. In a statement on the association’s website, Dr Ryan stated: “We encourage all Leaving Certificate students and those going through the CAO this year to accept their offer for higher education institutions in the knowledge that their student experience will still be exciting, dynamic, and stimulating as their institution contributes to the drive towards economic recovery.”
Meanwhile, the president of Limerick Institute of Technology Prof. Vincent Cunnane has presented a message emphasising care and reassurance for students and parents: “We want students and their parents/guardians to know that we will take care of your students next year. We want them to come onto our campuses, where we will ensure their safety and provide them with a stimulating college experience.”
The THEA, which represents higher education in technological institutions across the country, has released a statement which “sets out how we will support students and communities over the coming months and through the next academic year.”
The association has revealed that each of their member colleges will be evaluated in what specific needs that their staff and students will require to ensure the best possible on-campus experience, and that the information will be released over the summer months before the proposed return to Campus’ in September 2020.
THEA has, in the mean-time, published three common guidelines for all their institutions that will see:
- All Institutes of Technology are fully committed to delivering a fulfilling and enriching student experience while protecting the academic integrity of our programmes and awards and abiding by all public health guidelines.
- All Institutes of Technology will facilitate a substantial on-campus experience for students, particularly incoming first years, and are in the process of communicating directly with students in order to fully outline how their 2020/21 learning will take place.
- All Institutes of Technology are working towards a commencement date in September for the 2020/2021 academic year.
The statement was released the same day that encouraging survey results came out of DCU, stating that 97.8% of 1500 prospective first years would accept their first or second CAO choices this Autumn. This is contrary to early reports in May that a mass deferral among CAO applicants and potential first years was to take place.
Luke Murphy- Co-Editor