Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today addressed a meeting of European Education Ministers on the illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The meeting focused, amongst other things, on making language provision available for all Ukrainians and ensuring access to third level education.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister Harris said: “Ireland and Europe wants to respond in a comprehensive, compassionate and humanitarian way to the horrific situation in Ukraine.
“When it comes to education, like so many other areas, we are strongest when we coordinate and work together across the EU. I am sure we can learn from each other – let us share our responses so that we can ensure our actions are impactful.
“I know that the Commission are looking at its own programmes such as Erasmus to see how it can assist in the support of Ukrainian students.
“However, I would urge that we take an additional step – let us use the Erasmus programme to fund a dedicated European Scholarship Scheme, which will remove any financial and regulatory barriers for students and researchers wishing to continue with their studies.
“In Ireland, when I talk of accessing education, it is not just about entering a school or college, it is about supports for learning materials such as books, or a laptop.
Commending the French Presidency and the European Commission on their leadership today, Minister Harris emphasised the need to national systems to rise to this challenge of ensuring a seamless and inclusive transition for Ukrainian pupils and students. He added: “We have the tools and the programmes at our disposal to ensure students can flow freely from one institution to the other.
“This includes students in further education too. I don’t believe we should try and create a new system but we could use one that is known to work and expand it to suit the needs of Ukrainian people.”