Dia Duit Minister McHugh,
I am writing to you to highlight the issue our members face in relation to the Third Level Graduate Programme Stamp 1G.
The competition for graduate jobs begins every autumn and occurs annually, however, our members are not able to participate in the Third Level Graduate Programme until circa the first week of December. Generally, the University of Limerick’s taught masters students submit their theses for correction during or before September and then, the correction and ratification of these theses, by the University’s Academic Council Grading Committee, is finalised during the first week of December.
Our Union, the Postgraduate Students’ Union, has petitioned the University, by contacting its Vice President Academic Affairs and Student Engagement and other senior staff, coupled with petitioning the University’s Faculty Boards, to condense the timeframe by which the theses correction process occurs. However, as it stands, there has been no confirmation from the University that it will shorten the process of correcting and ratifying these theses. In fact, to date, the University maintain that the current theses correction process is necessary to ensure the robustness and quality of the theses’ results.
Where the law of the land and the University’s academic regulations meet, they combine adversely to affect our international members. How? Unfortunately, our members cannot compete with other international students and EAA graduates, from around the country, when competing for graduate jobs and other employment opportunities, around autumn, when these jobs are advertised and filled as students’ results are not officially ratified and released by the University until early December.
It seems that the University of Limerick’s international students are peerless in facing this delay as it seems that, every other comparable university in the country is in a position to ratify their students’ results before the end of September, which, then, allows their students to continue on with their newly gained employment and/or uptake same, when October begins.
Unfortunately, at this stage, my office has received too many complaints from disillusioned international students here at the University of Limerick, who have had to relinquish their hard-won and sought-after graduate jobs, come the end of September. To make matters worse, these students cannot resume working and furthering their careers until the ratification of their results by the University’s Academic Council Grading Committee or December 15th, in line with the Revised Immigration arrangements for the Third Level Graduate Programme.
As you can imagine, this detrimental development comes as a huge shock to our postgraduate students because, for some reason, they were not made aware as to the University’s academic regulations nor the country’s law and how the two combine to impede their job opportunities. This anomaly greets our members after their academic journeys, which were founded on the sacrifice they and their families made to pursue Irish educational qualifications.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the above issue.
University of Limerick Postgraduate Students’ Union President