Traveller and Roma Policy in Ireland
Education and Training
All children may access pre-school, primary and post-primary education and are required to attend school from age 6 - 16 years or until the completion of three years at secondary school whichever is the latter. In the context of integration, the Department of Education and Skills (DES) \ published its Intercultural Education Strategy in September 2010. The aim of the strategy is twofold. It is firstly to ensure that all students experience an education that "respects the diversity of values, beliefs, languages and traditions in Irish society and is conducted in a spirit of partnership" this is from the Education Act 1998. Secondly it aims to assist providers at all levels to create a learning environment where inclusion and integration within an intercultural learning environment are the norm.
The Report and Recommendations for a Traveller Education Strategy overs, in a very comprehensive manner, aspects of Traveller Education from pre-school right through to further and higher education within a lifelong learning context. The principle of inclusion is at the core of the Strategy and, accordingly, the focus of current provision is on the development of a more inclusive school environment through the whole school planning process, teaching practice, admissions policies, codes of behaviour and whole school evaluation. In keeping with this principle, additional resources provided in the education system are allocated on the basis of identified individual educational need rather than that of ethnic or cultural background.
A key objective of the Strategy is the phasing out of segregated Traveller provision and the inclusion of Traveller children and young people in mainstream education.
Traveller Education Strategy Advisory Consultative Forum (TESACF)
Traveller representative groups participate in the Traveller Education Strategy Advisory Consultative Forum (TESACF) which is the forum for consultation on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Report and Recommendations for a Traveller Education Strategy.
The Higher Education Authority recently conducted a consultation process to develop the next National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education. The new plan (2015 – 2019) is due to increase participation in higher education by members of the Irish Traveller community.
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