“We, the people of Éire… Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.” (Evening Echo, October 2011))

The Constitution of the state is something our ancestors fought for- they fought in trench coats and guerilla wars to make sure that we could have it for ourselves. Our government today is playing with it, crucifying parts of it that have withstood almost 75 years of our state’s development.

 

I’ll vote no to both proposals up for referendum on Thursday. I’m doing that for several reasons- but chief among those reasons is that I don’t think we have been given enough information to allow us to make an educated decision. I vote No to the poor workings of the Referendum Commission; I vote No to the removal of power from the Courts we designate for justice. I vote No to the half thought out proposals, the poor advertisements, the jaded nature of the inaccessible deliberations.

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Interns Can’t be used as Free Labour

With graduate unemployment still an issue, and internships and placement schemes all the rage, the question must be asked; is it not all just a crude manipulation of free labour?

 

An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.Or at least, that’s the idiom. But in a country where jobs are like Gold and the Rush is ongoing at a slovenly, cruel rate, an honest day’s work is rather unlikely to net you any pay at all, if the surge in “internships” is to be considered.

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Education is our Right- Not a Privilege (Evening Echo, August 2011)

Every year, at about this time, as Leaving Cert students collect their results and, stomachs churning, feverishly count points in an effort to see if they’ve passed their self-designated safe zones, somebody somewhere realises that a lot of these students will aim to go to college. And those same people inevitably, in these bad times, raise the suggestion that again, third level fees are coming down the line.

 

Every year, without fail, this happens. Call me cynical, but scaremongering eighteen year olds by warning them of ever increasing costs before they ever actually set foot in a University seems a pretty sick way to sell newspapers. It’s poor quality and in bad taste.

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Module Review Procedure to be Overhauled

The currently used procedure for module review is set to be reviewed, beginning in the new academic year. The current procedure for module review, featuring the use of paper forms that must be filled out for each lecturer by the students under his or her tutelage, is “not compatible” with current evaluation requirements, according to the President of UCC Dr. Michael Murphy.

This is all set to be overhauled, with the evaluation of modules to be done via the Student Portal on a pilot basis for some colleges in the 10/11 academic year. At present, the module review forms are not visible by any person or entity other than the lecturer who has been reviewed; even the head of a department cannot see the content of the forms. It means that there is no way of knowing whether a lecturer is using the forms as a proper evaluation procedure and following up on the feedback as a method of improvement.

The European University Association has outlined that in UCC, there is a lack of student evaluation and feedback. Current Education Officer with the Student Union, Shelly Conroy, told the Express that this will hopefully be improved by the introduction of a new system, which will be fully anonymous.

Ms Conroy outlined for the Express that she hopes the new system will be “Time efficient, anonymous and generic”. She stated that abuse of the current paper-based system by students means that a lack of balance could be evident when lecturers read the forms, and that as it stands there is too much administrative work required to complete the process of evaluation and improvement.

She related that in Dublin Institute of Technology, the system allows for a generic mark to be given to a lecturer, between 1 and 5. The same questions are given for all modules and the results are shared with the Department Head, allowing for greater transparency and a generic approach that offers more balance.

Ms Conroy hopes that the electronic system will eventually be mandatory, providing that the pilot year in certain departments is a success. The uses for the electronic system also have the potential to offer more benefits for students. Ms Conroy elaborated that “data could be collected to look at attendance numbers to see if there’s an attendance policy requirement.” She further alluded to the overuse of Blackboard, and questioned whether lecture notes should be electronic if students are not attending classes as a result.