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‘No evidence’ why The Summit treats graduates differently – HEA

The minimum grade requirement for job applicants is different depending where someone graduated.

Enda Kenny rings the NASDAQ opening bell at the Dublin Web Summit last year.
Enda Kenny rings the NASDAQ opening bell at the Dublin Web Summit last year.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE HIGHER EDUCATION Authority has distanced itself from the policy of board member Paddy Cosgrave whose The Summit event has been the subject of criticism for new employment policies.

The Summit announced this morning that it is hiring 40 new positions, but the minimum grade requirement for applicants is different depending where they achieved their degree.

Cosgrave was appointed to the board of the HEA by the Government but a spokesman for the authority today said that the hiring policies do not reflect the views of the authority.

“Different employers look for different things, he’s perfectly entitled to seek who ever he wants. But third level college graduates should expect to be level of equality in their qualifications.”

The HEA spokesperson adds the awarding of grades is purely the responsibility of third-level institutions themselves.

But the HEA insists that the response it has received from employers indicates that there is “no evidence” to show that a grade in one university is worth less than a similar grade elsewhere.

“The awarding of a degree shows a particular level of mastery in an area and to assume that one qualification is necessarily better than another qualification, there is certainly no evidence of this,” the said.

The HEA has no role in the accreditation of of university degrees, its role is to allocate public funding for third-level and to offer policy advice on higher education.

The latter function would appear to be the reason Cosgrave was co-opted to the board but some individuals in the HEA have admitted that they were surprised when they heard The Summit’s policy.

Speaking this morning on Newstalk, Cosgrave said that the policy partly reflected the differing number of 2.1 and First level grades that are awarded in different universities.

The Summit’s job advertisement specifically points out that graduates of Institutes of Technology who achieved a BA, BSc or similar, are required to have gone on to also secure a Masters to be considered. The HEA has also rejected that IoT’s should be treated differently:

The Institute of Technology sector has produced tens of thousands of excellent graduates and employment statistics show how successful they have been. Successful businesses also tend to be those based on diversity and recognition of leadership in different areas.

“While academic excellence is extremely important, other achievements while in higher education will also be considered, including work experience, practical skills, involvement in college life,” the HEA conclude.

Read: In 2016 there’ll be a new place for 500 students to live: Dublin’s Digital Hub >

Read: Graduates are now earning much less. But exactly how much less? >

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Rónán Duffy

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