NCBI is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2021 Gerard Byrne Bursary, presented by Minister for State for Special Education and Inclusion, Josepha Madigan TD in NCBI offices in Tallaght, Dublin 24.
The recipients this year are:
Chris White, NCBI CEO said “NCBI are proud to continue funding the Gerard Byrne Bursary as it is an effective and proactive way to incrementally increase the number of blind or vision impaired students in 3rd level education. I wish these awardees a very successful and enjoyable college experience and future career. It is vitally important all barriers to participation in education and employment are removed so these students can achieve their dreams similar to their sighted peers.”
Across the education sector, students who are blind and vision impaired make up just 1.8% of students with disabilities and represent the smallest single grouping of students with disabilities studying at third level (AHEAD, 2020).
Minister Madigan, who is a long-time supporter of NCBI’s work, particularly in the area of transitions within and out of education, presented the awards to the 4 students.
Minister Madigan said “It is an honour for me to meet this year’s beneficiaries of the Gerard Byrne Bursary. This initiative both empowers and supports students to thrive in 3rd level, guaranteeing their active participation. As Minister, achieving improved rates of transition from secondary school to 3rd level for students with special needs is a core priority for me and this Bursary system reflects this in a very practical way. I wish all today’s recipients well in their future studies and beyond.”
Now in its 5th year, the bursary has been awarded to 14 students in total to date. The courses and careers being pursued by people with sight loss are wide and varied and include business, STEM, education and politics. Two previous beneficiaries are now employed by NCBI in both the Services and Advocacy Teams. The Gerard Byrne Bursary consists of an annual grant for these undergraduate students who are blind or vision impaired and who are studying on a full-time basis at a recognised educational institution in the Republic of Ireland. The value of each scholarship is set at €1,500 per year and continues for the duration of the undergraduate programme chosen by the Bursary winners.