Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (397)

Holly Cairns

Question:

397. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if his attention has been drawn to a pledge by a union (details supplied). [2379/21]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

The USI Education for All Campaign covers a wide range of issues including public financing of higher education and student accommodation on which I as Minister and my Department are actively engaging with USI and relevant stakeholders in higher education.

Throughout the last number of months my Department has been engaging with sectoral representatives including the USI to address the challenges faced by students in this difficult time. I will continue to liaise with the USI and have met regularly with the President of the USI including specifically in relation to the USI's Education for All Campaign and most recently on 11th January to discuss a range of issues of concern to students.

For further details of responses in relation to a number of the issues comprehended by the USI campaign I refer the Deputy to my reply to PQ 44827 given in the House on 13 January 2021.

Specific issues comprehended in the USI Education for All Campaign will continue to be considered by the Department and, where appropriate, advanced and resourced in the context of ongoing engagement with relevant stakeholders in higher education and against the backdrop of significant cumulative pressures on the public finances at this time.

In the broader related context as we move forward in our overall response to the pandemic, I also announced last week that a working group will be established by my Department and chaired by USI which is dedicated to identifying, refining and implementing strategies to enhance learner engagement and student wellbeing.