New Joint University initiative Provides for Better Access and Educational Opportunities for Foreign National Students

Posted on: 08 February 2008

A new inter-university access programme, the Irish Life and Permanent plc ‘Increasing Diversity, Improving Access’ initiative, was launched in Trinity College on Monday February 4th, 2008. The partnership programme between the Trinity Access Programmes, UCD New ERA and DCU Access Service and supported by Irish Life and Permanent plc, is committed to improving the educational opportunities for non-Irish born students attending access linked schools. As part of this initiative, the university access programmes have also undertaken to increase the percentage of non-Irish born students participating in primary and second level outreach activities. 

The initiative will provide three, Irish Life and Permanent plc ‘New Irish Community Student of the Year’ scholarships, valued at €2,500, for three students each year for the next three years.  Students are nominated for the award by their schools based on their academic performance and their contribution to the school community.  At  the launch on February 4th last,  the first three scholarships were awarded to three students from access-linked schools  who are currently 1st year undergraduates in the participating universities, Dmitry Stimasov of TCD, Samuel Bodiu of UCD and Fehintola Bello from DCU.

“As a major Irish company, we have a continuous need for high-quality graduates from various disciplines.” stated Ciaran Long, Group Secretary of Irish Life and Permanent plc at the award ceremony. “This targeted 3-year initiative represents a commitment by Irish Life & Permanent to support access to third-level education for non-Irish born students and we are delighted to support the efforts of the TCD, UCD and DCU to increase participation by these students.”

The recent census identified 400,000 foreign nationals now living in Ireland , totalling almost 10% of Ireland ‘s population.  In some urban, access-linked primary and secondary schools, up to 50% of the pupils were born outside of the Republic of Ireland .The ‘Increasing Diversity, Improving Access’ programme also aims to assist in the development of systems and supports for such students, by funding enhanced ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision for schools. This year over 17 access-linked schools will benefit from this funding.