Workers’ Party Youth has called for a reduction in third-level fees, citing the added financial pressure facing working class families brought on by COVID-19.

Eoghan Gardiner, Secretary of Workers’ Party Youth, said:

“Leaving aside for the moment the fact that third-level fees should be abolished in their own right, due to COVID-19, students are likely to face a number of challenges in the 2020/21 academic year.”

“Blended learning, a mix of in-person and online education, will leave students at a considerable disadvantage in many regards. Essentially, students aren’t getting value for their money.”

“To name but a few issues that students may face, they will not be able to utilise college facilities to their full advantage, they will not have the same level of interaction with staff, they may be forced to pay for accommodation that they wouldn’t otherwise if the course was fully online, and they will have to pay for computers, electricity, gas, and internet that would be otherwise provided. Rural-based students could suffer in particular with regards to internet access.”

These issues, in a normal academic year, would not be as prominent as they would all be covered by fees paid to colleges annually. However, despite this lack of coverage, students are still expected to pay for these services.

“Workers’ Party Youth are petitioning the Minister for Higher Education in the south, Simon Harris, as well as Northern Irish Minister for Education Peter Weir, to step in and ensure that students are not overcharged for services and facilities that they are not receiving.”

Sign the petition here: