Responding to an announcement by the Department for the Economy, NUS-USI President Robert Murtagh has welcomed the proposed measures and called on the Department to ensure the method for deciding all qualifications is made clear to students as soon as possible.
He said, “I am pleased that the Economy Minister has given this direction for the future of vocational qualifications. Our research shows that 85% of students across the UK are worried about their exams and assignments as a result of the pandemic and weeks of uncertainty has added to the stress felt by students. I welcome the commitment to put in place an appeals process and to allow students to retake their qualifications where possible if they wish to. In line with the demands of the NUS UK Student Safety Net campaign it will be important to make sure that students are able to do so without having to pay additional course fees and that they are still able to receive the same maintenance support they normally would.
“Unfortunately, for many students there is still great uncertainty. I urge the colleges, the Department and the exam boards to ensure information on the exact process of how students’ final grades will be assessed is passed on as soon as possible. Grades should also be given to students as early as possible to allow students time to consider their next steps.
“79% of students on vocational courses have said that they believe the pandemic will have a negative impact on their course. We recognise the immense challenge that colleges are facing to deliver courses in these unprecedented circumstances. I call on the Department to make sure they are offering all resource possible to ensure that not only are colleges able to provide the qualifications that students need, but also the quality education that they, and wider society, deserves.”