Teagasc has confirmed that it is to fund a Covid payment to Teagasc students and provide a Teagasc laptop loan scheme.
Similar supports were introduced for third level students in other education institutions as part of a government initiative in Budget 2021, but Teagasc students were ineligible for funding.
To establish parity with comparable learners, Teagasc will now provide in the region of €200,000 to fund the combined cost of a COVID payment to Teagasc learners and a Teagasc Laptop Assistance Scheme.
“Teagasc full-time Level 5 and 6 learners have to adjust to the impact of COVID on their education in a manner no different to learners in the wider further and higher education sectors," said Tony Pettit, Head of Education in Teagasc.
"This new initiative will now give agriculture, horticulture, equine and forestry students in Teagasc the opportunity to avail of comparable supports to students in other third level education. This payment is in recognition of the impact of the COVID pandemic on third level learners. It is also intended to support full-time learners in transitioning to online learning environments.”
The Teagasc initiative was welcomed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D.
"I made this a clear priority in recent weeks as I did not want agriculture students to be treated differently. My Department has been working closely with Teagasc since October to set up this new initiative. Our agriculture students are the future generation of Irish farmers and they will be the lifeblood of the farming sector in the future," said Minister McConalogue.
"The adoption of digital technology is continuing at a pace in Irish agriculture and I am committed to ensuring Teagasc learners are best equipped to embrace this digital transformation."
Teagasc says they will make the necessary arrangements for full-time learners who are eligible for a COVID payment, while full-time learners interested in availing of the Teagasc laptop loan scheme should contact their college for details on how to apply.