NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary Programme launched by Minister Mary Mitchell-O’Connor

Celebrating the launch of the Schools of Sanctuary (l-r): Frank Keane, Principal of Scoil Bhríde; Jason Sherlock, Auditor of NUI Galway’s Minceir’s Whiden Society; Owen Ward, NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary Coordinator; Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor; Aidan Harte, NUI Galway University of Sanctuary Coordinator; Jacqueline Phiri, NUI Galway Civil Law student; John Hannon, NUI Galway Director of Student Services; and Imelda Byrne, NUI Galway Head of Access Centre.
Oct 07 2019 Posted: 09:55 IST

Minister of State at the Department of Education with special responsibility for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell-O’Connor recently launched the NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary programme at Scoil Bhríde in Shantalla.

The NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary programme is an outreach component of the NUI Galway University of Sanctuary initiative and NUI Galway’s Access Centre. Universities and Schools of Sanctuary promote the welcoming of refugees, asylum seekers, Irish Travellers and other migrants into educational communities in meaningful ways. A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment that benefits everybody, including anyone in its community who is seeking sanctuary. Promoting and celebrating cultural diversity as well as promoting pathways into higher education is a core element of the programme.

“Everyone involved in this programme will become beacons in the community and act as Ambassadors that promote and celebrate cultural diversity in addition to progression into higher education” said Minister Mitchell O’Connor.

The programme is highly inclusive and participatory which will empower every student. Furthermore, students will celebrate their own and others cultural identity. In addition, it intends to support increased access and participation in higher education by entrants from socio-economic groups that have low participation in higher education.

The NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary Coordinator Owen Ward said: “Through the collaboration with the Places of Sanctuary Movement, Ireland, the NUI Galway Access Centre and the participating NUI Galway Access linked schools, a sanctuary will be created for all within each school that will ensure a levelling of the playing field for everyone. This programme will positively impact approximately 1,500 students this year.”

Principals from Our Lady’s College, St Marys College, and Scoil Bhríde National School signed the commitment pledge to begin the process of becoming a designated NUI Galway School of Sanctuary.  The launch coincides with NUI Galway’s designation as the sixth third level institution in the country to be designated as a University of Sanctuary.


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