Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Department of Education and Skills
69. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the interventions his Department makes to assist the educational needs of asylum seekers and refugees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2004/17]
All children who do not have Irish nationality can access pre-school, primary and post-primary education in the same manner as children with Irish Nationality, until they have reached the age of 18 years. For children who do not have English as their first language, the priority for them is to gain proficiency in the host language. At both primary and post-primary priority levels, additional language support is provided for students who do not speak English as their first language.
Under Ireland’s Refugee Resettlement Programme, arriving migrants are accommodated in Reception centres for an initial period of a number of months before being re-settled in the receiving community. Language and Cultural orientation training is provided so migrants can gain some understanding of English and of Irish culture and mores. For children, there is a transitional Primary School programme run in the Reception centre, the objective of which is to ease their transition into school in the receiving communities.
Asylum seekers who do not have an entitlement to work have free access to adult literacy and English language classes run by the Education and Training Boards. The City of Dublin ETB runs a programme for unaccompanied minors.
There has been extensive consultation with stakeholders as part of the preparation of a Migrant Integration Strategy. The lead Department is the Department of Justice and Equality and while accommodation and employment are key to migrant integration, education is also seen as a pivotal area.