New website www.studenttaskforce.ie launched to assist such students
International students affected by the recent closure of several private colleges are to be offered alternative courses in high-quality, approved English language schools at a heavily discounted rate.
The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D., are announcing the new initiative as part of the response to the private college closures which have seen hundreds of students left without a place to study English.
This offer will be coordinated by Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), an industry body for approved English Language Schools. The courses will be offered through MEI at a cost of €60 per week which represents a discount of approximately 70%. The new courses which are being specially created for the affected students will operate to the highest standards, including small class sizes, and will be covered by MEI learner protection arrangements. Applications for these courses from the affected students will be taken from Monday 23rd June.
The two Ministers set up a group, the Taskforce on Students Affected by the Closure of Private Colleges[i], on the 21st May 2014 to co-ordinate a response to the private college closures.
In conjunction with the offer of an alternative English language course for affected students, a new website, www.studenttaskforce.ie, is being announced by the Ministers.
The new website, developed by the Taskforce, provides information for students on issues relating to their immigration status and details of the alternative courses available for those students who wish to continue their studies.
Minister Quinn said, “We established the Task Force in order to assist students who have been left without courses as a result of the private college closures and the website is a very important part of that work.”
“I would like particularly to acknowledge the constructive role played by high –quality private sector institutions on the Task Force. This has allowed us to put in place a very reasonable option for affected English Language students who wish to continue their studies in Ireland.”
Minister Fitzgerald said, "I welcome this constructive initiative to address the situation of international students affected by the closure of some private colleges. When setting up the task force the Minister for Education and Skills and I wanted the educational needs of genuine students to be addressed as a priority. This response from the high-quality English language sector demonstrates the shared concerns of all those participating on the task force and the commitment to produce a tangible and practical solution.
The Minister continued , "The dedicated website is an essential element in communicating with the affected students and I welcome it's launch. I am certain it will be an invaluable tool in resolving the current issues surrounding private college closures. "
Further information will be added to the website as it becomes available. The Taskforce is continuing its work and expects to present a final report to the two Ministers shortly.
[i]The Task Force is co-chaired by the two Departments and comprises membership from ICOS – the Irish Council for International Students, the Higher Education Colleges Association, Marketing English in Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Quality and Qualifications Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the City of Dublin Education and Training Board.
The terms of reference for the Task Force are “to urgently
- Coordinate efforts regarding protection of learners affected by private sector college closures.
- Determine the number of students who have not yet been satisfactorily accommodated (either through placement or immigration extension).
- Assess what existing capacity is available in the sector to make reasonable accommodation for genuine students and what further steps need to be taken.
- Oversee a system that seeks to make reasonable accommodation for students.”