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Mulvey welcomes ‘very timely’ new funding as DkIT prepares for a new normal

Michael Mulvey
DkIT President Michael Mulvey. Photo Credit: Dundalk Institute of Technology.

DkIT President Michael Mulvey has welcomed the €1 million boost to its coffers as announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris in recent days.

€871,000 has been granted to the third level institute to support continued investment in capital works and equipment, while an additional €118,000 was released by the Government to support students’ wellbeing and mental health for the academic year ahead.

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Mr Mulvey described the finding boost as “very timely” as the new 2020/21 academic year begins. Induction for first year students at DkIT will start on September 28 while classes will commence for all other students on the September 30.

Almost all lectures in Semester 1 will be delivered remotely while the Institute say they aim to deliver some practical classes on campus – delivered in accordance with COVID 19 public health guidelines – meaning students will likely be on campus a few days per week.

“This news is very timely as we prepare to reopen our campus for teaching and learning in September and put stringent new measures in place to keep our community safe at this time,” he said in a statement. “In DkIT we plan to utilise this funding to make vital upgrades and refurbishments to existing facilities across our campus, including IT and lab equipment.”

“Ongoing capital investment is essential to maintaining our high quality academic environment and providing a student-centred campus experience for our community. Funding will also be used to invest in online teaching and learning supports as part of the suite of blended teaching and learning approaches offered to students in the year ahead.”

“I also welcome the increased funding for mental health and well-being which will be released by the Higher Education Authority this year. We are cognizant that COVID-19 has brought about new challenges and strains for our student community, particularly in relation to mental health.

“New funding will allow us to build on existing capacity and invest in crucial student services such as student counselling and pastoral support.

“Our new operating plan for 2020/21 has prioritised student experience by reinforcing student health & wellbeing supports, providing a comprehensive first year induction and ensuring that all existing services continue to be made available to students via online and on-campus delivery.”

The funding for DkIT and other third level and further education institutions around the country are part of ongoing investment in the higher education sector under Project Ireland 2040 and, the government say, have been released in addition to the €168 million package of COVID-19 stimulus related supports for further and higher education institutions announced on 22 July.

Funding for student wellbeing and mental health can be used for a variety of measures including recruiting additional Student Counsellors, recruiting additional Assistant Psychologists, the implementation of the Framework for Consent in higher education institutes and and the implementation of the soon to be published National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework.

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