Irish students returning from Ukraine will be able to continue their studies in Irish higher education institutions, it has been confirmed.
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has given the confirmation following a meeting with the Irish Universities Association (IUA) today, to discuss the higher education response to the situation in Ukraine.
The majority of the Irish students who have been displaced are studying medicine and dentistry.
The Department said the IUA has put in place a working group with the deans of medicine, the Medical Council, and admissions officers to ensure that Irish students returning from Ukraine can continue their education and integrate into the relevant programme “at the right level”.
Meanwhile, Minister Harris and the IUA also agreed that a central point of contact was required for people coming from Ukraine seeking to enter higher education in Ireland, and that will be put in place in the coming days.
Minister Harris said, there will be a variety of responses required by the sector.
“When it comes to higher education, the immediate priority is to ensure Irish students fleeing Ukraine can continue their studies here. My Department has contacted them all and they are deeply traumatised by what has unfolded. We will work to extend supports and care to them," he said.
“The IUA universities have confirmed they will provide places necessary and we look forward to working with them on that. We will also work collectively to ensure Ukrainian people can access higher education here too.
“I will continue to engage with colleagues across the sector to ensure we can offer an effective response to the worst humanitarian crisis of our lifetime.”
Minister Harris added that the “most pressing” issue for foreign nationals arriving in Ireland will be access to English language supports.
“This is crucial to ensuring people have the ability to understand the information being presented to them, and to help them embed in Irish society,” he said.
“We will also need to provide employment opportunities for people and offer people the chance to engage in further education.”
Meanwhile, the Departments of Education and Further and Higher Education, have also met with Solas and Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), to ensure a “co-ordinated and family-centred approach” across schools and further education to meeting English language needs of adults and children from Ukraine.