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575 points direct provision teen to meet minister about going to college

Anna wants to study physiotherapy at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A STUDENT WHO secured 575 points in the Leaving Cert but who is unable to attend college this year because of the high fees placed on asylum seekers is to meet the Minister for Education this Friday.

Anna Kern, a former pupil of Coláiste Nano Nagle in Limerick, has lived in direct provision accommodation with her mother since moving to Ireland from Ukraine two years ago.

Anna wants to study physiotherapy at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

However, under the current system she will have to pay college fees of between €10,000 and €50,000.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Anna said that she has discussed her situation with the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan.

She said she is due to meet the minister tomorrow about the possibility of her being able to attend college this September.

I will show her my Leaving Cert results and then I will talk to her again. I talked to her two weeks ago and she said she would find some way, but she didn’t reply yet, so I am waiting and meeting her on Friday.

Anna said she stayed at home with her mother last night to celebrate her results. She said her mother baked her a cake and was very happy with her points.

The school principal of Coláiste Nano Nagle, Marion Cummins, is calling on the government to allow students in the asylum system pay the same fees as their Irish peers.

Cummins said it is time the 170 recommendations put to the government in May in relation to overhauling the direct provision system be implemented.

One such recommendation is that the EU rate of fees be applied to people in the protection process.

Earlier this year, Jan O’Sullivan said she was committed to ensuring students in direct provision are treated equally to Irish students.

The proposed plan, however, will only see college fees reduced for asylum seekers who have been in the system for over five years.

“The hope is someone is listening and can help,” said Cummins.

The principal added that it is important to remember that Anna is not the only young person that finds themselves in this situation.

“Students like Anna are abandoned by the government.”

“The government are happy to have them in our schools, give them the best of education and then at the end of it all there’s nothing.”

Cummins says it is unfair that there is a big question mark hanging over Anna who does not know what is in store for her next.

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