Thursday 19 October 2017

Trinity College students worried about impact of scrapping of tutor's allowance

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

TRINITY College students have expressed concern about impact of the decision to cancel a tutor’s allowance worth up to €3,000 per lecturers.

It comes after the Irish Independent revealed Education Minister Ruairi Quinn had told the college to cancel the unauthorised allowance.

It had been given to lecturers who provide confidential support to students who are having problems with exams and finances

TCD Student Union president Rory Dunne said students were worried that the one-on-one tutoring service would fall away now that the allowance was being scrapped.

“There’s a question about whether academic staff will be able to take on this workload with no extra pay,” he said.

There are 107 lecturers in Trinity who are currently being paid €3,070 per year to act as tutors to groups of 90-100 students each. And there are another 29 lecturers getting a half-rate tutor’s allowance of €1,535 for looking after 45-50 students each.

However, Trinity never got the required permission from Mr Quinn's department to pay the allowance and has now been told to halt it in the summer.

Mr Dunne said that the students’ union was seeking to have the allowance retained for lecturers on lower pay and abolished for professors on higher salaries.

“This is a service for students who are the most vulnerable and need support for bereavements, financial stress and not being able to find somewhere to live,” he said.

Trinity has committed to continuing to provide the tutor’s service even after the allowance is scrapped in July It said that tutors deal with the college on behalf of students, helping them with course transfers, medical problems and financial difficulties.

“Tutors can provide pastoral care and guidance and ensure that the student is able to make the best decision, given their personal circumstances,” a spokeswoman said.

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