Support needed for third level students in rural areas with poor or non-existent broadband

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Fianna Fáil Senator for Cavan and Monaghan, Robbie Gallagher, is urging the Minister for Higher Education and colleges to outline what plans are in place to facilitate and support students in rural areas that have been unable to attend or access course material due to lack of broadband.  

The Senator is asking for the Minister and colleges to come together to provide a solution as students approach their Summer exams.  

Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Gallagher said, “I have been contacted by concerned parents of students who have been severely impacted by the lack of broadband in that they cannot access their lectures or courses at university. 

“These parents have paid up to €3000 for a course that their child is unable to attend, in person due to Covid, or online due to poor or non-existent broadband. 

“It is now March and naturally both students and parents are becoming increasingly concerned that end of year exams are looming that the situation could potentially result in a student failing those exams or achieving poorer results than would normally be the case as they have missed the majority of their lectures.”  

Senator Gallagher outlined to the Seanad that this is not a situation for which the students or their parents have any responsibility or control over. 

“I would call on the Minister and indeed the colleges to outline what plans are in place to facilitate and support students in rural areas who have paid considerable fees for courses that they have been unable to access or attend due to the lack of broadband and who are now deeply apprehensive about exams and their progression on their chosen course” concluded Senator Gallagher.