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Maynooth University calls for action on the low levels of Traveller participation in higher educaiton in its report ‘Traveller in Higher Education’, launched today.
The report places particular emphasis on mature students, becaues of the particular challenges of re-entering formal education in early adult life for many Travellers.
Input by Kathleen Lawrence features in the report.
Anastasia Crickley, former Head of Maynooth University Department of Applied Social Studies noted: “The 26-40 age group has a richness of experience to bring to student life, and can be powerful role models and potential leaders within their communities.
Many of participants in the Maynooth Applied Social Studies programme could only participate in higher education when they no longer had to be concerned with childcare full-time.
Professor Philip Nolan, President NUI, Maynooth.
“The initiatives we are proposing will come with challenges, but they will ultimately enrich the University community and must be regarded as an asset in the pursuit of a just and fair society,” said Ms. Crickley.
The report calls for :
The establishment of targets and quotas for students and staff
The review of existing access strategies to assess their impact on Traveller access
The appointment of a dedicated support worker for Travellers who will engage with and support existing students, potential students and their families
Over the past 30 years, Maynooth University led efforts to build Traveller participation in university education in particular through programmes offered by the Dept. of Applied Social Studies.
Over this period 25 Travellers have graduated from Maynooth University with academic and professional qualifications at degree and postgraduate level.
Speaking at the launch of the report Anastasia Crickley who is also president of the UN Committee for the Eliminatin of Racism and Discrimination (CERD) noted: “Maynooth has played a leading role in bringing Travellers into higher education in Ireland. The University is a role model within the higher education sector in developing good practice for inclusion, and this report sets out the next steps to build upon this role.”
Martin Collins, Pavee Point; Anastasia Crickley UN CERD and Rose Ryan, NUI Maynooth Access Office