Final year students deserve clarity and a “no detriment” policy would provide that

A petition calling for DCU to implement a “no detriment” policy for final year students has amassed nearly 3,000 signatures. 

This policy would work to ensure that the average grade of a final year student is not affected by the current pandemic and that they will qualify to graduate as long as they have passed this year so far. 

The “no detriment” policy has been implemented in a number of universities across the UK, such as Durham and Kent University. It is the fairest way of ensuring that student’s grades are not affected by obstacles that are out of their control, such as poor internet connection or a difficult family set-up. 

The argument that students would no longer do any work for the remainder of the academic year does not stand up against the policy. It offers students the opportunity to increase their average grade by performing well on the remainder of their assignments and exams, if they have the resources to do so. 

College students have suddenly been stripped of everything that makes university such a valuable experience, and one that we pay good money for.

For some, the switch to remote, online learning will not affect their final grade. They may have a quiet space to work in with an understanding family and good internet connection. However, it cannot be assumed that all students have this set-up. 

For students with a difficult family life, for those living in direct provision and those who have had to return to rural Ireland with poor internet connectivity, a “no detriment” policy would be the fairest option for them. 

According to the recent Class Rep Council, it is highly unlikely that DCU will implement the policy, instead opting to review grades on a person-to-person basis. While they have assured students that they will do everything in their power to ensure that final grades aren’t majorly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, they have not confirmed what this really means for students. 

Instead students have been left in the dark with little communication from academic staff, aside from the odd email regurgitating the little information they have already been given. 

The quality of teaching students are receiving is far from adequate or worth the three grand paid in fees every year. This policy is quite frankly the least the university could do for its students during this difficult time. 

While it is widely accepted that most lecturers are doing their best to facilitate students, this policy would ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable people within this cohort are heard. It would guarantee that the student’s education is left no worse off than it would have been in a world without the coronavirus. 

Aine O’Boyle

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