Minister Mitchell O’Connor awards 40 students from under-represented groups 1916 Bursary Awards

The 1916 Bursaries, initiated to support access to higher education for under-represented students were awarded to 40 students in a ceremony at the GPO Witness History Museum on the 17th April. The bursary scheme funded by the DES /HEA under the Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH) Fund is aimed at increasing diversity in Higher Education.

The recipients, termed “Leaders and Learners” in recognition of the strong focus on education and equality of leaders of the 1916 Rising, are selected from under-represented communities and first-generation entrants to college, including lone parents, students with disabilities, Irish Travellers, members of other ethnic minorities, and refugees and asylum seekers

A UCD-led consortium comprising Trinity College Dublin, Marino Institute of Education, the National College of Art and Design, and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology – have come together to support the 1916 Bursary Fund. The recipients join a growing body of students already receiving supports through access programmes of the participating colleges. Bursary applicants were asked to outline their aspirations for the future, identify the financial and social impediments that stood in their way and give examples of how they had already shown leadership in their homes, schools or communities.

In her address the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said: “These 1916 bursaries are a fitting tribute to the educational vision of those who fought for Irish independence. It is apt that they are being launched here in the GPO. The leaders of the Rising were also learners with a range of qualifications: nurses, teachers, accountants, soldiers and sculptors. Their education contributed to their involvement in the Rising and their vision of a new Ireland of equal rights and opportunities. A century on, we are still striving to make this vision a reality, and these bursaries show the commitment of our colleges to greater equity in education.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Grace Mulcahy, Chair of the Consortium said, “just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes the Higher Education Community to be truly effective in recruiting and retaining students from diverse and under-represented backgrounds; these bursaries are an essential component to ensuring that we continue to do so.”