Funding welcome for Traveller Higher Education – Action Needed at Secondary Level

Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre welcomes today’s announcement  of enhanced financial supports for students seeking to access higher education.

We welcome the specific supports for Travellers and Roma announced today by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris.

We also welcome the commitment to set specific targets for increasing Traveller and Roma participation in the next National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education to overcome the barriers experienced by Traveller and Roma students. According to Census 2016 less than 1% of Travellers go on to third level education.

“Targets are now necessary at secondary school level to address the disadvantage and  early school leaving experienced by Travellers,” said Pavee Point’s Education Worker Tracey Reilly.

About 60% of Travellers of Junior-Cycle age, and 30% of Senior-Cycle age were enrolled in post-primary schools in 2018-2019. In the 2016 Census about 20% of Travellers aged 20-24-years registered as having completed Senior Cycle. 

“In its Concluding Observations published this week, the UN Human Rights Committee raised specific concerns about the multiple forms of discrimination Traveller and Roma communities face in education,” said Ms. Reilly.  

“The Committee recommended for the State to promptly follow through on its Programme for Government commitment for a Traveller Education Strategy – which would see much needed special measures and resources to Traveller education.”

The Committee’s Observations were also echoed this week by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet who in its letter to the Irish State also raised concern at the education of Travellers and Roma and has asked for the State to finalise the National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy and strengthen efforts to facilitate Traveller and Roma access to education.

Photo: Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD with Pavee Point Education Worker, Tracey Reilly.