Dickson says Economy Minister needs to take responsibility for students

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has called for the Economy Minister to take responsibility for the disappointing university experience many students have received this year.

East Antrim MLA Mr Dickson was speaking after receiving a response to a question from Diane Dodds on student support, in which the Minister stated she has asked local universities to review their compliance with consumer law in regards to how teaching and assessment will be conducted.

“This academic year has been like no other, and all over the world students have had to shift to mostly online learning, missing out on the in-person tuition they would normally expect. I therefore welcome the recent support made available for student hardship,” he said.

“The pandemic disruption to universities is of course not the fault of the Economy Minister, nonetheless, it is important the Minister take responsibility for the higher education sector in Northern Ireland.

“I am dismayed in a response to this question, the Minister referred to consumer law as being the basis on which universities should provide a good communication on teaching and assessments during the pandemic.

“Students should expect the Economy Minister to answer for universities and to champion their cause. So I would call on the Minister to take more responsibility for the services our universities provide, and give more direction to the sector, to help ensure the highest standard of teaching possible at this time.”