Hundreds of city primary school children participate in UNI 4 U programme

Scoil Bhríde Primary School students (front row l-r) Radley Nicholls, LaToya Rossborough, and Nichole Sweeney with (back row, l-r) Brian Ferguson, teacher at Scoil Bhríde; Rachel Konisberry, UNI 4 U Programme Coordinator, NUI Galway; and Frank Keane, Principal at Scoil Bhríde. Photo: NUI Galway

Scoil Bhríde Primary School students (front row l-r) Radley Nicholls, LaToya Rossborough, and Nichole Sweeney with (back row, l-r) Brian Ferguson, teacher at Scoil Bhríde; Rachel Konisberry, UNI 4 U Programme Coordinator, NUI Galway; and Frank Keane, Principal at Scoil Bhríde. Photo: NUI Galway

NUI Galway’s Access Centre recently delivered the virtual UNI 4 U primary schools initiative awarding Certificates of Achievements to 200 children in three Galway City schools.

UNI 4 U is a primary school outreach programme delivered in partnership with NUI Galway and three DEIS primary schools, Scoil Bhríde in Shantalla, Scoil Chroí Íosa in Mervue, and Radhrac na Mara, Presentation Road.

Each year students from fourth, fifth, and sixth class are selected by their teachers to participate on this programme where they spend six weeks on campus during the school term. While the students are on campus they participate in a number of specifically designed Easter and Summer camps including university taster modules, discussion-led classes, and a range of fun interactive activities all based on campus. Due to Covid-19 restrictions this year the programme took place online with the Access Centre team creating a series of recorded material and worksheets for students to use in class in their school.

Dr Mary Surlis, Senior Manager with NUI Galway’s Access Centre, said UNI 4 U is about demystifying the University and inviting primary school children onto campus to promote the value of education, and to develop their interpersonal, academic, and confidence skills.

“It is about enabling families to envision a future for their children in third level education, and in the broader context embracing diversity and inclusion, as core tenets of our work in schools.”

President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said Initiatives like UNI 4 U play a significant role in increasing equality of opportunity in our communities and increasing the diversity of our student population in years to come.

“UNI 4 U embodies NUI Galway’s vision and values of respect, openness, sustainability and excellence – contributing to our community and our society for the public good. The message that we want to give to these young students is that NUI Galway is their University, it is a part of their community, and we hope, in years to come that they will become a part of our campus community as they continue their education at third level.”

Frank Keane, Principal of Scoil Bhríde, Shantalla, Galway, said: “UNI4U has probably been the most significant and successful transition programme for schools enabling pathways through education, especially to third level for children from designated disadvantage schools.”

The UNI 4 U initiative began in 2005, stemming from the University’s commitment in its strategic plan to advancing the social, economic, educational, and cultural needs of the Western region, and more recently The National Access plan which aims to increase equality of opportunity and increase diversity across Irish Universities.

 

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