'I want to study here, I want to work here' - Student who achieved 575 points in Leaving Cert appeals for State support
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan is involved in finding ways to fund college education for an asylum seeker Anna Kern, who notched up 575 points in her Leaving Certificate.
Ms Kern, who came from the Ukraine with her mother two years ago, wants to study physiotherapy.
But, under existing rules, she is not able to access State support such as the SUSI grant and the “free” fees scheme.
She lives in Direct Provision accommodation in Knocknasheen, Co Limerick with her mother, who is not permitted to work.
Anna attended Coláiste Nano Nagle in Sexton Street , whose principal Marion Cummins said that Anna had no way of paying for third-level education and she claimed the Government was abandoning her.
The minister said today that several avenues were being explored such as college assistance funds that help students in need.
“We have been making enquiries” the Ms O’Sullivan said today, during a visit to the National Parents’ Council post primary (NPCpp) Helpline 2015.
It is understood that another option being explored is the possibility of a philanthropic donation.
The minister met Ms Kern last week and will speak to her again tonight.
The minister is working on a new scheme to support asylum seekers in third-level education, which will be announced soon.
However, even that scheme would be of no benefit to Anna, as it will be restricted to asylum seekers who have already spent five years in the Irish education system.
She told Independent.ie:
"I want to study here, I want to work here. I want to do everything I can in Ireland," she said this morning.
The school's principal Marion Cummins claimed the Government is abandoning Anna and has called for the introduction provisions for the continuation of studies for asylum seekers who have the ability and who want to learn.