Louth sentaor calls for Dundalk IT exams to be moved online
Louth senator, John McGahon, has written to management at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) regarding its intention to hold in-person exams next week, and says that "the sensible and responsible thing to do would be to move them online."
The Fine Gael senator believes that given the huge increase in Covid-19 case numbers over the Christmas break, DKIT exams should be moved online.
Senator McGahon said: “Between December 28th and December 30th, we have seen Covid-19 case numbers grow exponentially from 10,853 to 16,959 to 21,847 per day. All the while, DKIT is still expecting students to sit exams in person. The sensible and responsible thing to do would be to move them online."
"I accept that there will be difficulties in moving the exams online. An in-person exam is completely different from an open book online exam, I also accept that external exam validation will also be a challenge. However, time and time again, the pandemic has upended our best laid plans and I have written to DKIT Management asking them to outline their contingency plans if in person exams cannot take place."
Senator McGahon said that he has been in contact with President of DKIT Students Union, Christopher O’Neill, and several students and that "despite an active campaign before Christmas asking for the exams to be moved online, the position of DKIT remains that the exams should be held in person."
Commenting on the impact online exams would have on students self-isolating or who have contracted Covid-19, Senator McGahon said that, "if the exams are held in person, we should consider students who are currently self-isolating or those who may have contracted Covid-19 while taking the exams and as a result, they will then have to repeat these exams in August.
"Many students have job opportunities and summer plans lined up that will have to be altered to sit an exam in August. If you fail an exam, then you should absolutely have to repeat it in August. However, catching Covid-19 during the peak of the pandemic is not akin to failing an exam.
"I have also asked DKIT Management to confirm if some flexibility could be provided to students where they could sit the exams at an earlier date in the summer."
Senator McGahon added, "It is incumbent on DKIT to accept that case numbers are too high to conduct in person exams and to re-arrange them either online or in person at a later date. Young people have made many sacrifices during this pandemic and have been excellent throughout. We should be making life as easy as possible for them and not forcing them to sit an in person exam while case numbers are so high."
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