DkIT President Welcomes Funding Boost To Upgrade Campus Facilities and Provide Additional Student Supports & Services01 September 2020
Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) receives €1 million in funding to provide enhanced facilities, supports and services to students in the year ahead. €871,000 was confirmed by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD to support continued investment in capital works and equipment. An additional €118,000 was released by the Government to support students' wellbeing and mental health for the academic year ahead.
In announcing the news about the capital grant, Minister Harris said:
“It is essential that higher education institutions can reinvest in their existing estate, renew and update their equipment, and can make capital investments to respond to developments in online and blended learning. Ongoing capital investment is essential to ensuring a high quality academic environment and a positive campus experience for students and staff. This flexible funding complements other targeted capital investments in the sector that will help expand availability of student places and transform campus infrastructure over the coming years."
The devolved capital grant funding, which is provided through the Higher Education Authority, is part of a €25m package for higher education institutions to provide colleges with the flexibility to address small-scale capital investment and equipment including infrastructure upgrades, ICT, and equipment renewal, and energy-related upgrades. The funding forms part of ongoing investment in the higher education sector under Project Ireland 2040 and has been released in addition to the €168 million package of COVID-19 related supports for further and higher education institutions announced on 22 July.
When speaking about increased funding for student services, student wellbeing and mental health, Minister Harris commented,
"The number one health issue for young people in Ireland today is concerns or worries around their mental health. These concerns have been compounded by the isolation and uncertainly brought forward by the COVID-19 pandemic. For students, the college experience has been different this year from ever before. Students have had to adjust to remote learning and carried out without face to face support from their college or their peers.
"For these reasons, I have sought to support student counselling services, key mental health interventions and the provision of a safe, respectful, supportive and positive environment in our higher education institutions. This will help us support students as they return to college in this COVID-19 world."
DkIT President, Michael Mulvey, PhD welcomed the funding,
“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. 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 this year.”
“I also welcome the increased funding for mental health and well-being which will be released by the HEA 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 Government has advised that funding for student wellbeing and mental health will be used for a variety of measures including:
- recruiting additional Student Counsellors
- recruiting additional Assistant Psychologists
- implementation of the Framework for Consent in HEIs; Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive: Ending Sexual Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions
- implementation of the soon to be published National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework.
For more information on the funding announcements, click below: