University study will be available to Ukrainian refugees, says minister

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris also confirmed that Irish students who fled from Ukraine will be able to continue their studies in Ireland.

Dominic McGrath
Monday 14 March 2022 17:15
Trinity College Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)
Trinity College Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Government has pledged to ensure that Ukrainians fleeing war can study at Irish universities.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris also confirmed that Irish students who fled from Ukraine will be able to continue their studies in Ireland, after places were made available by universities.

The majority of those students were studying medicine or dentistry.

Mr Harris met with the Irish Universities Association (IUA) on Monday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine and the response of the Irish third-level sector.

It comes as Ireland prepares to accept potentially tens of thousands of refugees from the war-torn country.

Mr Harris said one of the most pressing issues will be English language support.

Education officials met Solas and Education and Training Boards Ireland on Monday to discuss how to meet the English language needs of adults and children from Ukraine.

“This is crucial to ensuring people have the ability to understand the information being presented to them, and to help them embed in Irish society,” Mr Harris said.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said that the Government was working to ensure Ukrainian refugees can access Irish colleges (Brian Lawless/PA)

“We will also need to provide employment opportunities for people and offer people the chance to engage in further education.

He said that fitting Irish students back into courses in Ireland was an “immediate priority”.

“My department has contacted them all and they are deeply traumatised by what has unfolded. We will work to extend supports and care to them.

“The IUA universities have confirmed they will provide the places necessary and we look forward to working with them on that.

“We will also work collectively to ensure Ukrainian people can access higher education here too.”

On Sunday, the Taoiseach said that Ireland’s humanitarian response trumps security checks on arriving Ukrainians.

Micheal Martin said the state has so far accepted 5,500 people fleeing the Russian invasion and may take in more than 100,000.

He said Ireland’s priority is the humanitarian response to what he termed “the worst displacement of people since World War Two”.

“Our primary impulse is to assist those fleeing war,” he said.

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