All Hallows in talks to rescue adult learning programme

DCU president says many aspects of ‘Alba’ system would resonate with own value system

All Hallows College is in discussions with DCU (above) about the possibility of rescuing a pioneering degree programme for adult learners.

All Hallows College is in discussions with DCU (above) about the possibility of rescuing a pioneering degree programme for adult learners.

 

All Hallows College is in discussions with DCU about the possibility of rescuing a pioneering degree programme for adult learners which faces abolition with the winding-down of the Catholic third-level institute.

All Hallows is the only college in Ireland offering the adult learners BA (Alba) – a part-time course for personal and professional development – which allows mature students to study in a highly flexible way around family and work commitments.

College president Dr Patrick McDevitt said it would be “a tragedy if we lose the paradigm of the Alba model”, especially as Ireland was trying to boost adult participation in higher education.

All Hallows has set up a formal dialogue process with DCU, to which its degrees are accredited. The university’s president, Brian MacCraith, said Alba was “one of the many programmes we will explore” as part of this dialogue.

Prof MacCraith said: “DCU is particularly sad at what has happened but, to be clear, we have no governance role and no budgetary role, and the decisions taken by All Hallows were taken independently of us.

Strong commitment

St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, which recently linked up with DCU as part of a new teacher training institute, has asked to join the process, and other colleges may be approached with a view to helping to keep the Alba course going.

The programme was unique not only in its flexibility but its relative affordability, with fees set at €2,075 for the part-time course. About 90 students – a fifth of All Hallows students – are going through the Alba degree, which typically takes three to five years to complete.