1 June 2019 - On Sunday, over 70 women will participate in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon to raise awareness about education access for people in the asylum process.

In 2015, the government announced a Pilot Support Scheme for school leavers in the asylum process. The scheme was intended to facilitate young people in Direct Provision to move on to third level education after finishing school. Over a three year period, only five people were granted support via this scheme from a total of 59 applications due to the restrictive nature of the eligibility criteria.

There are currently 260 young people between the ages of 15 and 18 in Direct Provision with little prospect of accessing third level education after completing their Leaving Certificate unless the prohibitive criteria to the Pilot Scheme are changed.

Charlotte, Education Officer with the Irish Refugee Council said,

“There are very limited opportunities to further or progress education beyond secondary school level if in the asylum process. The biggest barrier faced is financial. At present, young people are preparing for their Leaving Certificate exams, which start next week, with the knowledge that they may not be able to progress onto college with their peers.”

“I administer a Fund that offers opportunity – the opportunity to progress, to advance, to be further educated. Each year I get to deliver good news (and bad) to people who apply for the fund. I hear of the desperation of those who have to sit idle for another year without funding and I see the dedication and drive of the people who receive support to pursue their education.”

The Irish refugee Council’s Education Fund was established in 2015 with support from the Community Foundation for Ireland to financially assist people in the asylum process in accessing further education. Since then, through very generous donations from the public and the private sector, the Fund has continued to assist people in the asylum process with their educational needs, be it course fees, transportation costs or course materials.

Caroline Reid, Communications Officer with the Irish Refugee Council concluded,

“Since 2015 this Fund has supported over 100 people onto further education and thankfully we have been able to support more people each year. Both the IRC and the people who have been supported are massively grateful to everyone who has made this possible.”

“Education plays a vital role in people’s development, self-esteem and integration, if you want to find out more about this work please contact us at [email protected]."

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Notes to Editor

Read Student testimonies here

Read more about the Pilot Support Scheme