High standards at DIT

 

Sir, – I refer to a letter from Tony Murray (May 10th), addressed from the Dublin Institute of Technology. Mr Murray refers to third-level students as “disinterested, unsuited or perhaps not mature enough for third-level education”. I presume he meant to say uninterested, given that disinterested means objective, with no selfish ulterior motive, in search of knowledge for its own sake, which I would consider as a prerequisite for third-level education in the first instance.

In any event, his comments do not connect with the students I worked with in the Department of Film and Broadcasting at DIT, where I lectured for many years, entry to which now requires a minimum of 450 CAO points. I found that most students in the department were highly motivated, independent-minded, and open to new ideas.

Many went on to pursue challenging careers in the media and elsewhere, as well as further studies in other institutions in Ireland and abroad.

Mr Murray says “evidence” shows that “nine out of ten students are spending up to 20 hours a week working to earn money”. This a surprising statistic, but if there is any truth in it this might have something to do with the extortionate rents that are being charged for minimal accommodation in Dublin at this time.

According to Mr Murray “any academic working in the sector today” will support the view that “standards”, “quality” and “excellence” are rarely on the agenda, and that “many” see the quality assurance procedures as “nothing but a bureaucratic ‘check-box ticking’ exercise to satisfy a government or management requirement”.

I am at great pains to stress that those claims do not reflect my own experience of nearly 30 years as a lecturer in the Department of Film and Broadcasting at DIT, where examination board meetings were conducted with scrupulous regard for the rights of all students and best equity practice, and were of course always attended by external examiners from other third-level institutions in Ireland and abroad. – Yours, etc,

MALACHY O’HIGGINS,

Portaferry,

Co Down.