Students at Athlone IT who were told their audiology degree course was being scrapped, after they had completed the first year, will now able to complete the course in Athlone.
It follows an agreement reached today (Wednesday) during a High Court challenge by two of the affected students.
Two students who had just completed the first year of their BSc degrees in audiology at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) took High Court action after discovering that the course was being cancelled.
Megan Munnelly and Diarmaid O’Connor had taken the case against AIT, the HEA and the HSE, seeking an order that the course be continued and the students to be provided with work placements.
The course, the country’s first audiology degree, was scrapped after the HSE refused to provide placements without accreditation from the British Academy of Audiology.
The court heard how Athlone IT failed to secure the relevant accreditation because the BAA had decided to only accredit institutions within the UK.
However, the High Court heard today that a deal had been agreed to facilitate the continuation of the course.
In a statement this afternoon, AIT welcomed the agreement reached with the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The agreed solution will enable the students, who successfully completed the first year of the programme, graduate with a BSc (Honours) in Audiology from AIT.
“AIT appreciates that the HSE has agreed to provide 12 placements for the students, which coupled with other placements will enable the remaining students to complete the integral clinical aspect of the programme. AIT also acknowledges the support of the HEA in agreeing to fund the programme,” the statement read.
President of AIT, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, said: “We are delighted that these students will be able to complete their studies in audiology with us. It was always our intention to support the students, and we are very pleased for them that this agreement has been reached. We recognise, particularly, the support of all parties in realising the ambitions of this cohort of students, and we are grateful to them for their cooperation and assistance in this matter.”
AIT regrets the inconvenience occasioned to our committed students but we are delighted that a satisfactory resolution has been achieved.
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