The Government has announced €16.5 million in funding for measures aimed at helping single parents and members of disadvantaged groups enter third level education.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Fine Gael TD for Wicklow, Andrew Doyle is encouraging local education clusters to apply for the funding available.
Minister Doyle said: “We need to use education as a tool to break down the barriers of disadvantage, and ensure everyone gets a fair chance.
“Fine Gael is building a Republic of Opportunity to help everyone reach their full potential, by ensuring that everyone gets a fair chance.
“Higher Education bodies have been invited to submit proposals for funding. I strongly encourage our own regional education cluster, comprising University College Dublin, Maynooth University, Marino Institute of Education, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and IT Tallaght to apply.”
Funding bursaries worth €5,000 will be put in place to assist 600 students coming from non-traditional backgrounds into college. There will also be supports for 120 socio-economically disadvantaged lone parents. This will be worth €6m over three years.
Funding of €2.5 million per annum is available for the next three years. This amounts to funding of €7.5m over the three year period.
A further €3m over three years in increased funding for the hardship supports to help students, with lone parents being prioritised.
“One of the goals of this scheme is to increase engagement with local education providers here in Wicklow and Higher Education Institutions. Our DEIS schools, Further Education providers, community and voluntary groups, Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), and other relevant stakeholders all set to benefit from this engagement,” Minister Doyle said.
Speaking at the funding announcement launch, Minister for education and Skills, Richard Bruton said: “At the heart of everything we are doing in education is ensuring that every child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of their circumstances.
“Education has a unique capacity to break down the cycles of disadvantage. By helping more students to fulfil their potential by staying in education longer and going to third level, we can help build the Republic of Opportunity which the government is committed to doing.”
Fine Gael launched The Action Plan for Education 2016-2019 was launched in September 2016 with 139 actions and hundreds more sub-actions. The overall ambition is to make Ireland’s education and training system the best in Europe by 2026.