Minister Harris launches project to examine how higher level education can learn from COVID-19 pandemic

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today (Tuesday) launched a new project, “Next Steps for Teaching and Learning: Moving Forward Together”, aimed at examining how higher level education can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This project will look at what we have learned so far in the shift to fully online/remote teaching and learning since 2020 and how the sector can move forward together.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “There has been a strong spotlight on teaching and learning in higher education since the shift to online and remote education.

“The involvement of all key stakeholders in this project, which will consider our re-shaped teaching and learning landscape, is very welcome and timely.

“Through this national partnership we will be in a position to look ahead more clearly and support those who learn and teach in our institutions into the future. I commend all partners for their willingness to contribute to this very worthwhile project.”

This new project involves leading higher education partners and is aimed at building an informed vision for the future of teaching and learning in Ireland. During the COVID-19 pandemic, key elements of our higher education system – such as teaching & learning, assessment and curriculum design – needed to become more agile and adaptable between online, remote and face-to-face contexts.

In addition, digitalisation is a strategic challenge across all areas of government, and higher education has an evolving digital transformation agenda, which has been impacted by this recent shift to online/remote teaching and learning.

The CEO of the Higher Education Authority, Dr Alan Wall added: “I am delighted to support this valuable endeavour. Teaching and learning is a core pillar of higher education and it is incumbent upon us to ensure that the learning that has been gained in recent months and years is used to best effect to inform practice and policy at local and national levels. The findings from this work will be important in shaping teaching and learning developments in the coming years”.

The Chair of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Dr Lynn Ramsey, said: “As we prepare to develop the post-2021 national strategy for teaching and learning in Irish higher education, this collaboration will be fundamental to ensuring it is grounded in the experiences of the sector over the past year”.

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