Green Party Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Catherine Martin TD today called for the Government to recognise asylum seekers as domestic students for the purpose of attending third-level education institutions.
Speaking today, following the Oireachtas Education Committee’s discussion on SUSI grants, Deputy Martin said: “Asylum seekers living in direct provision are among the most excluded people in our society – education is the great equaliser, but only if we ensure it is equal and that there is a level playing field for all. The current system as it is designed is effectively preventing students in direct provision from progressing past second-level education.
“For someone living on less than €40 a week in direct provision, fees and costs of up to €20,000 to attend a third-level institution are not within the realms of possibility to afford. They are reliant on restrictive Government programmes such as the Pilot Support Scheme, and on the goodwill and good work of Universities and Colleges of Sanctuary. This does not equate to proper equality of access.
“While I welcome the recent expansion of the Pilot Support Scheme which has been running since 2015, it is still too restrictive to provide real access to third-level education for asylum seekers. The Government should take the real and important step of expanding the concept of domestic students for the purpose of fees to include asylum seekers in direct provision.”
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