Minister must clarify status of Back to Education Allowance for vulnerable students
Labour Party Senator, Rebecca Moynihan, has called on the Minister for Education to give clarity on the status of the Back to Education Allowance for the next academic year.
Senator Moynihan said:
“This week the Minister for Higher Education highlighted a suite of measures aimed at groups at risk of educational disadvantage without giving much clarity to the status of the Back to Education Allowance for the next academic year.
“The Minister for Education needs to confirm whether the requirement progression for students in receipt of the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) will be waived for people in the next academic year.
“An awful lot of the more vulnerable students who access that scheme are having problems at the moment – they might not have laptops or tablets to work from and they don’t currently have access to one on one face time with their teachers and lecturers in order to get additional academic support. Online and distance learning cannot provide for students who find themselves in this situation.
“In order to keep the BTEA you have to pass the previous year and progress, but this might not be an option for many students who find themselves in a difficulty during this extremely uncertain time.
“The Labour Party believes that this requirement should be waived next year. We need to show some kind of compassion and flexibility for those who are trying their best to progress with their education but are not in the position at this moment in time to fulfil all the requirements of the current academic year.
“I’m calling on Minister Joe McHugh to make it clear to these students that if they have to make up part of their year because they cannot access the supports they need that they won’t be penalised next year, and that the BTEA will still be available to them.”