Primary School Students Graduate from NUI Galway Uni 4 U Programme

Natalia Wojciechowska from Holy Trinity Girls School, Mervue; Matthew Stasiak from St. Michael’s School, Mervue; and Jakub Zebrowski from Scoil Bhríde, Shantalla, display a poem written by the three DEIS schools as part of the Uni 4 U programme.
Jun 19 2018 Posted: 13:58 IST

NUI Galway recently held a graduation ceremony entitled ‘Follow Your Dream’ for 40 local school children aged between 10 and 12 with guest speaker Connacht Rugby’s sporting legend, Eric Elwood. Three DEIS in Galway City, Scoil Bhríde in Shantalla, Holy Trinity Girl’s School, and St. Michael’s Boy’s Primary School in Mervue, received their graduation certificates from their involvement in Uni 4 U programme.

NUI Galway’s Uni 4 U is a primary schools initiative aimed at increasing participation, diversity and equality of opportunity in third level education. Under the supervision of Dr Mary Surlis, and co-ordinated by Mark Dooley, this programme is funded, delivered, and designed by the Access Centre in NUI Galway since 2005. University staff and students from a wide range of disciplines teach, mentor and support the students during their time on campus.

Students from fourth, fifth and sixth class are selected by their teachers to participate on this programme over a three year period. During their participation in Uni 4 U students are exposed to, and immersed in University life, spending six weeks on campus during term. Sixth class students also participate in a specifically designed Easter camp, and fifth class pupils attend Summer camps, engaging students in university taster modules, discussion led classes and a range of fun interactive activities all based on campus. The focus of the programme is to engage the students in a positive and fully interactive exposure to life on campus.

Uni 4 U aims to promote the value of education, and to develop the pupil’s interpersonal, academic, and confidence skills. It also endeavours to expose both students and parents to opportunities offered by education, demystifying third level education and enabling families to envision a future in third level education. Since 2010, 290 pupils have completed the three year programme and since 2005 approximately 740 pupils have participated on the programme, whilst, annually over 120 pupils take part on the programme.

Dr Mary Surlis, Uni 4 U Programme Director at NUI Galway, said: “The success of the ‘Uni 4 U’ programme is due to the commitment of the schools involved in this initiative, and in particular, the principals, Frank Keane, Brendan O’Dwyer and Peter Woods, and the school co-ordinators, Orla Doyle and Adrian Carey. Each school is responsible for the selection process of their students and in doing so they have helped to create a cohort of fully engaged and motivated students. It is envisaged that the Uni 4 U programme will be made accessible to more primary schools in the future, as the central aim of creating educational opportunity, and creating a level playing field, continues to be the core objective of this programme and the mission of this University.”

Eric Elwood of Connacht Ruby encouraged the students saying: “If you strongly believe in something you should go for it, anything worth having in life is worth fighting for.”


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