Students are calling for colleges to resume in-person graduation ceremonies again, after ceremonies went virtual due to Covid-19.
This comes following a survey of 50,000 students which found that the switch to remote learning has had far-reaching and negative impacts on young people's college experience.
As reported in The Irish Times, the research carried out by the Irish Survey of Student Engagement, found a dramatic decline in the proportion of students who had quality interactions with staff.
According to the survey, 37 per cent of first-year students reported having excellent, or close to excellent, interactions with academic staff in 2021. However, prior to the pandemic, this figure stood at 64 per cent.
Furthermore, just 26 per cent of first year students prepared for exams by discussing or working through course material with other students on a regular basis. This is compared to the average of 45 pe cent recorded in surveys from 2018-2020.
Overall, the research found there were fewer social opportunities and lower perceived levels of engagement for students compared to previous years.
Following the negative impact the pandemic has had on students, there are now calls for a return to in-person graduations.
Online graduation ceremonies have now become the norm, however, Clare Austick, president of the Union of Students in Ireland, has said students deserve to be recognised for all their hard work with in-person ceremonies.
"Colleges are planning to tailor for in-person lectures and experiences and, certainly, graduations can be accommodated for again," Ms Austick told Newstalk.
"Some colleges have postponed their graduations and are having them in-person, whereas others have delivered them online."