Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ceisteanna (211)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

211. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the access persons living in direct provision have to further and higher education with their local education and training boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46597/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

All protection applicants, including those living in direct provision, can access ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) education from their local Education and Training Board (ETB). Additional literacy supports may be provided for those with existing literacy needs in their own languages.

Access to the broader range of Further Education and Training (FET) delivered by ETBs is provided to protection applicants who hold Labour Market Access (LMA) permission. Courses in general (aside from ESOL) may require a level of competency in spoken and written English and some courses hold specific educational or vocational requirements for entry. While access to the majority of FET programmes is free of charge, participation in the Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) programme, in common with higher education provision, is subject to the payment of fees that apply to international learners.

Protection applicants are not eligible to access the SUSI grant scheme that is available to PLC and higher education students. However, a Pilot Support Scheme provides supports along similar lines to the SUSI grant scheme (including meeting the cost of fees) and is available to eligible persons in the asylum, subsidiary protection or leave to remain process. Details of the 2019/20 Pilot Support Scheme can be accessed on my Department's website at https://www.education.ie/en/Learners/Services/Pilot-Support-Scheme/Pilot-Support-Scheme.html