Desk shortage consigns students to floor during exam


Around 30 first-year Economics students took an MCQ exam while sitting on the floor due to a shortage of seats and desks in the exam hall.

The first-year Principles of Macroeconomics class arrived for their mid-term MCQ in Blackrock Exam Centre on February 24th to discover that there was a shortage of desks. Those students who didn’t have seats had to complete their exams while on the floor.

One student told The University Observer: “There was a crowd; there was a lot of people going into the exam and a lot of confusion as to where we were sitting. But then it just turned out that there weren’t any seats, or not enough at least.”

The student said that the time limit was taken off the exam and that the students could take as long as they wished to complete it.

Course Lecturer, Dr Ivan Pastine, told The University Observer: “The balance of registration for the module between semester one and two this year was different from the past, with more students than expected taking the module in semester two and the usual number of seats was not sufficient. Consequently, we had approximately 30 more students than seats.”

Dr Pastine said that in addition to adjusting the time limit, he also offered those students who did not have desks the opportunity to wait and take the exam when some of the desks became vacant.

Dr Pastine continued: “The school is taking steps to ensure that this does not happen again. We are also amending the marking system for the course to ensure that nobody’s grade is adversely affected by the rocky start to last night’s exam. I am very happy to meet with any of the students who had to wait for a seat and would like to discuss their exam.”

Students’ Union Education Vice-President James Williamson criticised the handling of the situation: “I think the exam should have gone ahead, but I think that the 20 or so students should have been catered for instead of being told to sit on the floor. Being an exam, everybody has to be assessed in the same way, be it the amount of time, or being given a chair; the proper facilities.”

A UCD spokesperson told The University Observer “the university is satisfied that no student will be disadvantaged by the seating issue”.

The affected student said: “It didn’t really affect my knowledge in any way. It was an honest mistake. The man apologised for it anyway.”

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