Serious concerns about the future of students on a social care course at DkIT have been raised by Louth TD Ruairí Ó Murchú.
Around 42 students who have just completed third year of the college’s Social Care course logged onto the examinations results system at DkiT last Tuesday to find their results for the year had been ‘deferred’.
It is understood the issue centres around placement hours, which are a course requirement set down by the social care sector’s oversight body, CORU.
Because of Covid-19, the students were unable to complete their entire placement hours in April and May and the college offered alternative assessment methods.
The students said they believed they would be graded and moved into their fourth and final Level 8 degree year in September, but they were ‘stunned’ to see their grade had been deferred.
In addition, they were told that because of a college error in their second year, a further 100 hours of placement would have to completed in 2021, on top of the hours deferred because of Covid-19.
The Sinn Féin TD has written to the Ministers for Health and Education after receiving a number of representations to his office about how the matter unfolded this week and he has also written to DkIT president, Dr Michael Mulvey.
‘A number of students have contacted my office about this issue and are deeply upset and worried about what has happened.
‘The students who wish to go for a Level 8 degree are very worried about how they are going to complete this huge chunk of placement hours, on top of completing their final year assignments and thesis.
‘What is particularly concerning is that the students believed that the alternative assessments that they completed during lockdown were in lieu of the placement hours for 2020. But now it looks like these may not be accepted.
‘On top of that is the startling news that a further 100 hours were not completed in second year, again, without the students’ knowledge.
‘I have written to the ministers with responsibility in the education and social care areas, asking them to intervene in this situation so that there is a satisfactory outcome for the students.
‘I have also contacted Dr Mulvey to ask him to investigate what has gone on here and see if solutions can be found’.