Education Minister visits Pavee Point as Traveller & Roma Education Strategy underway

Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre was delighted today to welcome Education Minister Norma Foley, TD to meet with our Traveller Education Progamme and hear the lived experience of Travellers in the education system.    

Education Minister Norma Foley, TD meets Megan McDonnell.

With the development of the National Traveller & Roma Education Strategy underway, as promised in the current Programme for Government, Pavee Point also outlined our hopes for the Strategy and our ongoing concerns.

Education Minister Norma Foley TD, with Pavee Point Traveller Primary Health Care Project

The Minister met with Pavee Point’s Traveller Primary Health Care Project who shared some of their concerns with the Minister especially in relation to the high level of early school leaving among Travellers and the impact of low educational outcomes on Traveller health.

Just 33% of Travellers are enrolled in upper secondary education in comparison with over 90% of the general population in the same age band, according to Census 2016.

(LtoR) Rudolf Simonic and Bianca Tanase of Pavee Point’s Roma Programme with Education Minister Norma Foley, TD.

“We believe this Traveller & Roma Education Strategy can be transformative,” Pavee Point Co Director Martin Collins told the Minister. “There is a need for the Strategy to create conditions for a transformed education system where Travellers and Roma, and other minority ethnic groups, can have full and equal access, participation and outcomes.”

Anastasia Crickley, Pavee Point Chairperson also spoke to the Minister about the importance of targets and timelines in the new strategy.  “Targets and timelines have the capacity to generate interest, comment and involvement and are urgently necessary to progress senior cycle completion rates for Travellers and Roma,” said Ms. Crickley.

Other issues that were highlighted by Pavee Point were:

  • Professional development for teachers and all engaged in education informed by principles of equality and anti-discrimination to be mandatory
  • The role of the inspectorate in ensuring the above principles
  • Progress in ensuring anti-bullying policies explicitly address racism
  • The importance of ethnic data collection in the implementation and monitoring of the new Strategy.
(LtoR) Men’s Health Worker John Collins and Education Minister Norma Foley, TD

Homepage photo: (LtoR) Rudolf Simonic, Karen Fenlon, Anastasia Crickley, Megan McDonnell, Bianca Tanase, Education Minister Norma Foley, TD, Martin Collins, John Collins, Pa Reilly and Grainne Cullen, Department of Education.