A €300,000fund has been raised by Government in order to support the Travelling community in pursuing third level education.
The money will be used to support technology, study space, health and social impact, and caring responsibilities. The fund is secure through the Dormant Accounts Fund
Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, said that this funding aims to alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on the Higher Education programs of the Travellers.
It also ensures Travellers’ increased participation in and retention of higher education.
Recent studies shows that there are only 61 Travellers in higher education, and approximately 1% of Travellers have a third-level education.
He also talked about his plan to work with higher education institutions and local and national Traveller organisations to ensure the successful roll-out of the actions in the Action Plan for Increasing Traveller Participation in Higher Education.
Irish Travellers are under-represented in higher education, and one of the target groups identified by the National Access Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education.
The target of 80 Travellers in higher education, from a baseline of 35 was set for the duration of the NAP for Traveller participation.
The progress review of the NAP in 2018 highlighted the need for a more focussed intervention, resulting in the Action Plan for Traveller Participation in Higher Education 2019-2021.
Harris noted that the funding will prove to be a long term benefit for the Traveller Community which now has an unemployment rate of 85%. He describe this measure as the stepping stone to creating an island of “talent and inclusion”.