Covid-19 Coronavirus Update
By Maura O'Shea
Posted: 20 April, 2020
On 8 April 2020, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, thanked the tertiary education system for implementing alternative examination arrangements during the Covid-19 emergency. All higher education institutions have communicated the alternative assessment arrangements in place to students, which include online examinations and written assignments. HEIs have worked closely with Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) to ensure that the highest standards are maintained, and that academic integrity is safeguarded with due regard to the difficulties facing students in these complex circumstances.
On 10 April 2020, An Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar, TD, announced an extension until 5 May of current measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). The Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Joe McHugh, TD, thereafter announced new arrangements for the State Examinations in 2020, including the postponement of the Leaving Certificate until late July/August. The admissions processes for higher education, which are managed by the Central Applications Office (CAO) will operate as closely as possible to the usual timeframe for offers and the entry date for first year students will be delayed.
The Department of Education and Skills continues to engage with a broad range of stakeholders as part of planning for the State Examinations 2020. The HEA is feeding back from these meetings in its ongoing consultations with the higher education sector.
In light of recent developments, the Department of Education and Skills has asked the HEA and the higher education sector to explore ways of assisting access to higher education for students from under-represented groups.