Students from the Traveller community have had their learning disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Today’s announcement from Minister Simon Harris of the roll-out of €300,000 in funding for Travellers in Higher Education will support students to remain in third-level during the pandemic, Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said.
The Fine Gael Spokesperson for Equality said, “This funding will support students from the Traveller community; students who may be already studying in College, or younger students who are now looking to progress their education past secondary school.
“Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on these students. Some students don’t have access to suitable places to study, so they’ve had to work on kitchen tables, in shared bedrooms or next to younger siblings for the past year.
“Access to suitable technology is also a big problem for some members of the Traveller community. Without wifi laptops or other IT supports, college students face disruptions to their online learning, while leaving cert students are having difficulties in completing their CAO applications.
“We’re almost a year into the pandemic now, and more needs to be done for these students to ensure they receive the same level of education and opportunities as every other student.
“I raised the issue of IT supports with Minister Harris recently and asked him to ensure that options are made available to those in the Traveller community who wish to access third level education but may not have the resources to begin the process.
“I welcome today’s announcement from the Minister, which recognises that Covid-19 has had a prolonged negative impact on the education of many in the Traveller community.
“This announcement is the first step in mitigating these impacts and I look forward to continuing working with Pavee Point and the Minister to ensure that funding is made available to those who need it most,” Deputy Carroll MacNeill said.