Education: Gary on programme cuts and the student experience

Gary Gillick is 22-years-old, from Carlow and he’s in final year studying Biotechnology. He is running for the position of Education officer on the Students’ Union.



Why is he running?

Well first of all I want a grinds database, so I mean, a lot of people are looking for a tutor for helping them with modules so you could have maths grinds, physics grinds, I don’t really know, they’re very broad. It would be nice to have tutors that are specific for modules, that have done these modules before and who know how to teach them. Basically if you have a link on your portal page and you can just click into that and you can look through a database of people who are specific to your course and your module and that will really help students who are struggling.

Gary wants to meet people…

I like to sit down and get to know people rather than virtually talking to them through email, so I think that might help a bit. The Students’ Union are approachable, but maybe just take it out of the stringent setting of office space?

What does he think about cutbacks to schools?

I wouldn’t know too much about cutbacks to be honest. Like, I know there’s a lot of finance and a lot of administration to do with this job and I’d be a strong believer in being thrown in at the deep end and find my way from there.

…and with regard to cutbacks to the communications course?

Communications is a level eight, well-recognised course around Ireland and just to take away, probably some of its dignity – I don’t want to say that, but I don’t really fully agree with that. There’s this kind of consistent joke that communications is just something that you ‘do’ and you, just to be honest like, you wipe your arse with the degree at the end of it like.
I don’t think we should take things away though; it should be shared to improve things rather than just taken.

What he thinks of how students finance college, and his take on the Access Service…

I understand Access provides a lot of support, but as well as that I don’t think people should be dropping out of college because they haven’t got the finances to support it. You know obviously if there’s allocations of money towards us it shouldn’t be towards courses but towards students, to reatin the students. Now, people are going to drop out either way. I think I started out with fifty in my class and now it’s twenty-eight; but I think that’s down to interest rather than financial support, you know?

So why is he the best candidate?

I just feel like I’ve been here longer than the other two. Now, I’m not saying that I’ve been more involved, but from first year onwards I’ve been involved in societies and committees. D’you know; I ‘ve had the full experience, like at the start of first year when I’d go out to the Big Tree on Mondays – you’d miss class and you’ve had that normal sort of student experience, what you expect to come into college to do. Then, in second year obviously you pull the socks up, you go to class all the time, and I’ve had the experience of doing more exams than humanities, they don’t have many exams, depending on the course, but I consistently have at least ten exams every year. So, I’ve been through the extenuating circumstances, I’ve been through the deferrals, the repeats, the fails, the passes. I feel like I’ve got my time and my organisation under wraps.

Who will you vote for? Tell us in our poll.

Theresa Newman

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