Minister Simon Harris has announced that plans are being put in place to welcome both third level Ukrainian and Irish students who were studying in Ukraine that wish to continue their studies here in Ireland. This news comes soon after the recent announcement that Ireland is set to welcome 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine.

The Independent states that following a meeting on Monday with EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, concerning higher-level students fleeing Ukraine, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has stated that “We will look after any student who comes here”. This came with the announcement that Ukrainian students will become eligible for the SUSI grant, which typically allows students to have their €3’000 fees paid for by the state. 

According to the Irish Examiner, Harris has also stated that he believed the biggest issue facing the incoming students would be the English language supports. On the topic, Harris said, “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”. 

These welcoming words were mirrored by Trinity Provost Professor Linda Doyle, who in an Independent article said Trinity would do “anything they can” to support Ukrainian students. According to the same article Trinity currently supports 12 of Ireland’s 170 Ukrainian students, of which another 27 are studying in UCD.

Simon Harris also referred to fitting Irish students back into Irish courses from Ukraine as an “immediate priority” to the Irish Examiner.  Currently, there are 12 Irish students registered who have left Ukraine and a further five are believed to still be there according to The Independent. Harris said “My department has contacted them all and they are deeply traumatised by what has unfolded. We will work to extend support and care to them.” In a press release on the 15th of March, Harris further highlighted the importance of education for everyone saying that “It is essential that access to education is maintained, and I confirmed to the commissioner that Ireland is ready to support any actions proposed by the Commission to make sure that remains the case.”

Adam Van Eekeren – Reporter