Audiology students seek HSE placements as course cleared

A class of 11 students who went to court last year to be allowed complete a cancelled audiology degree at Athlone Institute of Technology should be able to begin clinical placements with the HSE in January.

The development follows the conclusion by an international expert that the course meets standards of similar degrees in UK universities. AIT was forced to cancel the programme in mid-2013 after the first group of 21 students had finished just one year of study, claiming it had not achieved the professional accreditation it required.

Two students went to the High Court seeking its reinstatement but others chose instead to take up places on UK degrees. It emerged that AIT had been told it should not run the course a year earlier because it did not have approval for placements and there was no national policy on education programmes for audiologists.

The college is now in discussions with the HSE about finalising placements, following receipt of the evaluation of its audiology degree by Prof Gerald Armstrong-Bednall. Meanwhile, Carlow and Waterford institutes of technology have moved a step closer to taking the first main step in applying for technological university (TU) status.

They plan to submit a business plan in January to the Higher Education Authority for evaluation by international experts, whose report will decide if they can formally apply to become a TU. IT Carlow’s governing body this week ratified an agreement committing both colleges to develop management and governance structures across all campuses, meaning more connections between students, staff, and management in each location.

An outcome is expected next month on proposals earlier this year on TU applications for Cork and Tralee institutes of technology, and three ITs in Dublin.

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