27 August 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has announced a comprehensive financial package of €5 million to support students’ wellbeing and mental health. This significant funding increase comes at a time of great urgency around student support and re-opening planning for the next academic year. It reflects the original €2 million funding for student mental health and wellbeing allocated to higher education for 2020 along with a further €3 million as a response to COVID-19.
The funding will be used to: recruit additional Student Counsellors; recruit additional Assistant Psychologists; implementation of the Framework for Consent in HEIs safe, respectful, supportive and positive, ending Sexual Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions and implementation of the soon to be published National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework.
Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) welcomes the Minister’s announcement that an additional €5M has been allocated to support students’ wellbeing and mental health, and the allocation of €236,000 to CIT.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, CIT’s Student Services have continued to run remotely and engage with students. These services, including Counselling, the Medical Services, and Pastoral Care are planning to resume face-to-face activity in the new academic year and will also continue to be available remotely.
There is no doubt that Higher Education in 2020/2021 is going to a very different experience for both new students and continuing students. Thus the Minister’s announcement is a very timely one as we prepare for the forthcoming academic year.