5000 Travellers in primary education
961 Travellers in post primary education
4 travellers in third level education
(1999 figures )
One cannot expect positive results from an educational programme which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a programme constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions not withstanding.
(Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire)
However, things are changing and the value of a good school education is becoming more a part of Traveller life. Intercultural education will help change prejudice and discrimination in this country.
A young Traveller boy returned home after school one day and said to his mother, “ I was in school today”. “What do you mean?” the mother replied. The boy said, ”well I saw myself there, I saw pictures of trailers and people collecting scrap.
There are many reasons for the low participation of Travellers in second and third level education. Some of them are as follows:
1. Our education system has been and continues to be exclusive, reflecting mostly on settled people’s culture. It needs to be inclusive of other cultures like that of the Traveller community and those of other ethnic backgrounds.
2. Not having proper access to formal education due to lack of decent accommodation
3. Some Travellers have mixed feelings about the usefulness of formal education beyond primary school
4. Discrimination in the educational system