Higher Education Minister says DkIT exam results being withheld is "unacceptable"

Michelle O'Keeffe

Reporter:

Michelle O'Keeffe

Email:

michelle.okeeffe@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Higher Education Minister says DkIT exam results being withheld is "unacceptable"

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has said DkIT students having their exam results withheld due to industrial action at the college is “entirely unacceptable”.

The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) Branch at Dundalk Institute of Technology – which represent lecturers and researchers – said the action has been taken due to the institute’s executive failing to honour commitments made last year, including the improvement of management bodies and progress in pursuing Technological University status.

Minister Harris, who met with Dundalk Senator John McGahon and DkIT Student Union President Taidgh Kavanagh via zoom to discuss the issue of student’s exam result being withheld, said exams result should be provided as soon as possible.

 Minister Harris said: “I believe the situation of students not being provided with their exam results is entirely unacceptable.

“Students have been through enough as a result of Covid and I really hope that common sense prevails, and students are provided with their exam results as soon as possible. “

DKIT SU President Taidgh Kavanagh has told how students have been left stressed about not receiving their exam results and have been caught in the crossfire.

“Minister Harris spent thirty minutes on a Zoom call listening and understanding our real concerns about the withholding of exam results”, he said.

“Overall, the meeting was a great success. 

“Minister Harris said he wanted to see the situation resolved as soon as possible and recognised the great difficulties that students have endured over the past year.”

The TUI responded to Minister Harris saying they are willing to return to talks at the Workplace Relations Committee but claimed DkIT President Michael Mulvey refuses to return to talks.

“TUI remain ready and willing to return to talks at the WRC, as we always have”, a spokesman said.

“Unfortunately, the DkIT President is refusing to and there can't be a solution if only one side is willing to talk and reach a compromise.

“We hope for everyone's sake he reconsiders and returns to negotiations.”

A DkIT spokesman said in a statement: “The Institute recognises that the industrial action by the TUI is having a direct impact on students and DkIT's focus is to find an appropriate and immediate resolution so not as to further compound the impact on students.

“DkIT has called upon the TUI to resume engagement with the industrial relations machinery of the State and the President has asked TUI members to agree to a referral to the Labour Court which would mean the industrial action could be lifted with immediate effect.

“Management remain hopeful that this resolution will be agreed upon shortly.

“The Institute’s priority at this time, as always remains ensuring the welfare and continued support of our students and ensuring that DkIT’s teaching and learning and wider operations can continue without further disruption.

“The Institute is doing everything in its power to ensure that students will receive their results in due course.

“While continuing to exercise maximum effort to find a swift and fair resolution to the industrial action by the TUI, the Institute is actively putting contingency measures in place to ensure that results can be issued in the meantime.

“We recognise that this has been an extremely challenging year for our student community and we are committed to ensuring that no DkIT student will be disadvantaged by the delay in issuing results.”

The spokesman continued that it is incorrect to state that Mr Mulvey refused to return to talks with the TUI saying “the Institute has fully engaged with the industrial relations machinery of the State”.

Senator McGahon said “I really hope the situation is resolved as soon as possible, the TUI are willing to talk and engage and I really think that a compromise must be reached where everyone is satisfied and most importantly where students get their exam results.”