SINN Féin TD, Deputy Johnny Mythen, has called for live streaming and recording of third level lectures to be introduced as a short-term emergency response to the current student accommodation crisis across the country.
Deputy Mythen made the call in conjunction with his party colleagues, on Wexford County Council, Cllr Tom Forde and Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin.
Together the three elected representatives have called on Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris TD, to engage with Institutes of Further Education around the issue of streaming lectures as an emergency response to the student accommodation crisis.
Commenting on the issue Deputy Mythen said: “I have asked Min Harris if live streaming and recorded lectures have been considered as an emergency response to the severe lack of student accommodation, and if institutions have been resourced to do this.”
He said he has received “countless representations” from students and families in Co Wexford who can't find or afford to move in order to attend college.
“Of course, every student deserves the full college experience, and the responsibility is on the entire Government to urgently address this accommodation crisis,” he said.
“Every student deserves to attend in person if they so wish, however, the start of term is upon us and the stark reality is that many students are going to face extortionately long and expensive commutes to attend college,” he added.
Commenting that they won’t find a place in time he said the short term solution to consider would be an option of lectures being watched online as that would provide much needed flexibility and support to students and their families.
“We in Sinn Féin also support the provision of recorded and streamed lectures for other reasons, such as increased accessibility, particularly when we are still in uncertain times with Covid-19,” said Deputy Mythen.
He said further education institutions should be supported and resourced to provide e-learning options.
Meanwhile, Cllr Tom Forde said he was also contacted by a large number of students over the same issue.
He said that through no fault of their own, they have been unable to secure accommodation that would enable them to continue with their studies.
“Unfortunately many also do not have access to an adequate public transport service that will enable them to commute, while many who have a service in their area face lengthy journeys that make commuting to educational institutions unrealistic,” said Cllr Forde.
“The Minister needs to take immediate action on this and ask colleges and universities to make this a priority and to meet the needs of struggling students on issues that are out of their control,” he said.