Student accommodation: It's up to third levels to deal with issue, says minister

Minister for Education Norma Foley has said that it was up to third level institutions to decide if they should defer commencement dates to facilitate first year students seeking accommodation.

Ms Foley said she was confident that the needs of students would be taken into consideration, but that it was a matter for the third level institutions. The Minister also defended her decision not to reveal details of the postponed Leaving Certificate results when questioned in the Dáil on Thursday saying she wanted to first inform the “variety of partners in education.”

This year’s Leaving cert results will be released on September 7th, three weeks later than usual. CAO offers will then be made on September 11th with the deadline for appeals on September 14th.

Ms Foley acknowledged that this will mean a short time frame for students to find accommodation. “We are living in extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary measures have to be taken. I absolutely want to acknowledge the patience of students, parents and teachers. I appreciate it is a stressful time and I know this is a time of high anxiety,” she told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

When asked if colleges and universities might consider pushing back commencement dates to facilitate students, Ms Foley said she was confident that third level institutions would make arrangements about start dates.

For students who were unhappy with their results the appeals process would be turned around as quickly as possible she said with the opportunity to sit a written exam.

There will be an opportunity for students to re-engage with the portal to confirm their wish to engage with calculated grades, she added.The release date of September 7th is still in time for CAO and UCAS (the British system for college admission), both of which organisations had been “incredibly engaged” with the process, she said.

Earlier on Newstalk Breakfast, Ms Foley said that the reason the release date for this year’s Leaving Cert results had been delayed was to ensure that all checks and balances were in place.

It was hugely important that the class of 2020 know that their calculated grades had the same integrity as every other year’s Leaving Cert. The Minister said she was certain people would understand the delay had been necessary to ensure the integrity of the process.

On the issue of delayed start dates for first year students, Ms Foley said she was confident that the needs of students would be taken into consideration, but that it was a matter for the third level institutions.

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