Thursday, 24 September 2020

Questions (202)

Holly Cairns

Question:

202. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if his attention has been drawn to communications from NUI Galway to postgraduate research students for them to undertake unpaid teaching contributions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26231/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

Universities are autonomous institutions within the meaning of the Universities Act 1997 and the management of their academic affairs, including the delivery of course,s are matters for the individual institutions.

In this context the Department understands that NUI Galway offers an accredited blended-learning training course on demonstrating/tutoring to assist in improving teaching skills. NUI Galway PhD students are required to make contributions of a maximum of 120 hours per year (approximately 5 hours per week over 24 weeks) over three academic years, without extra payment. A range of activities can be included such as taking tutorial groups, demonstrating at practical classes, co-supervising undergraduate projects and student mentoring. Hours may be included that are spent in class preparation, advising, monitoring student projects, and correcting projects, notebooks or essays and will vary according to School/Discipline norms. The allocation of teaching contribution is managed at academic unit level (Discipline/School/College). Students in receipt of research grants comply with the terms of their funding award. Contributing to teaching is an integral part of the training of a research Master’s or PhD student. Teaching contribution assists in the acquisition of generic and transferable skills, as described in the National Framework for Doctoral Education and in the PhD Graduate Skills Statement from the Irish Universities Association. NUI Galway states that while contributing to teaching is part of the training of a research Master’s or PhD student, the core component of their research programmes is the advancement of knowledge through original research.