Minister Harris Announces €5 million COVID-19 fund for teaching and learning reforms



By Maura O'Shea

Posted: 9 November, 2020

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has announced a €5 million fund designed to drive teaching and learning innovation across the higher education sector.

The aim of the fund is to improve how to teach and learn in a digital world.

Speaking at the announcement, the Minister said: “This funding call has been issued in response to COVID-19’s ongoing impact on the higher education sector.

“In March 2020 when our colleges closed their doors, the sudden move to online and remote education brought great challenges. However, our higher education institutions rose to that challenge and brought about significant improvements to their students’ education.

“Today, we want to take that innovation and build on it. So we want to hear from you about how we can all learn to strengthen the student success across face-to-face, blended, online and remote teaching and learning contexts.

“Through this fund we will learn and grow for the success of all our students.”

National Forum director, Dr Terry Maguire said: “The National Forum, in partnership with the HEA, looks forward to collaborating with institutions as they optimise the potential of this fund. This call represents an opportunity to support the higher education community to consolidate any positive disruptions to process and practice that may have occurred in 2020, with a view to enhancing efforts towards holistic approaches to enabling student success. The pandemic has taught us how quickly circumstances can change and the need for those who teach and those who learn to be confident in their knowledge and skills and supported in adapting their abilities to a variety of circumstances. Through this €5m fund, the sector will be empowered to take a strategic and unified step forward with respect to enabling the success of all students.”

Dr Alan Wall, CEO of the Higher Education Authority said: “The HEA, in partnership with the National Forum, welcomes this funding call which will encourage closer alignment of student success, institutional priorities, national strategies and policy imperatives.

The call for funding can be accessed here.

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

Transforming Teaching and Learning for Student Success is the strategic focus of this non-competitive call. This Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement (SATLE) funding call complements and supports previous Government investments made in this area under the Innovation and Transformation Fund 2018, the annual Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund since 2014, the 2019 Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement (SATLE) Fund and Pillar 3 of the 2020 Human Capital Initiative.

This funding call is designed to form a coherent basis to drive teaching and learning innovation and enhancement across the higher education sector, bringing together teaching and learning expertise, institutional priorities and dedicated funding through the recurrent grant allocation, to support strategic alignment.

The current national higher education strategy, the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, sets out teaching and learning as the first of three interconnected core roles of higher education. Enhanced teaching and learning is fundamental to the achievement of objectives across key national policies related to employability, internationalisation, innovation, and equality of opportunity.

The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education is Ireland’s national body responsible for leading and advising on the enhancement of teaching and learning in Irish higher education.

The National Forum focuses on those who teach and their professional development and those who learn and their success, while attending to the disciplinary contexts and digital dimensions of teaching and learning. The National Forum ensures that teaching and learning in Ireland is informed both by research evidence and by the experience of the higher education community. It understands that valuing teaching and learning is key to student success.

More: Minister for Further and Higher Education, minister simon harris, national forum, The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

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