The news that a third level course at Athlone Institute of Technology is being discontinued because of a lack of accreditation is a complete fiasco, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “It beggars belief that this four-year programme was allowed to start last year without any clear prospects with regard to clinical placements or employment opportunities for students.
“The class was informed this week by e-mail that the course curriculum would be dramatically changed so it would no longer represent the “original” qualification, as publicised by CAO.
“These third level students have been let down appallingly. It is a disgraceful waste of a year of their lives and a disgraceful waste of taxpayers’ money. The students are now left in limbo with no clear answers about their rights if they transfer to another course. There are concerns that if they transfer to another third level course, they may face full third level fees for the first year as they have already completed a year at Athlone IT.
“The onus is on the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to provide these students with the answers they deserve. The Minister must act immediately and instigate an investigation into this fiasco. We need to know how this situation was allowed to arise, what supports are being given to the students affected and what action is being taken to ensure that it does not happen again.”