'Dormant Funds' to support student self-esteem programme


Dublin, 11 October 2005:  A project aimed at developing self-esteem in young secondary school students has been chosen to receive funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund.  The project, Pathways through Education, is one of DIT’s Community Links programmes and is run in partnership with two inner city secondary schools – Presentation Secondary School, Warrenmount, Dublin 8 and St Paul’s CBS, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7

The programme, up until now, has been targeting first year classes.   The increased funding means that it can now be extended to include second and third year students also.

Fully integrated into the school system, ‘Pathways’ is an innovative programme that adopts a holistic approach to enhancing students’ self esteem.  It has been designed in partnership with the students themselves, the teachers in their school and with their parents.  Building on the existing curriculum, the programme has a weekly slot in the school timetable.  According to DIT’s Fiona Masterson, who manages the programme, “Pathways would be described as a ‘therapeutic intervention’.  It is class-room based and helps students to engage effectively with the educational system.  It has been very successful and it sets the students on a positive path in terms of life after school and future employment. “

In addition to offering students a counseling service, the programme uses various and innovative intervention methods including drama, script writing and digital media to address issues such as relationships, peer pressure,  bullying, alcohol/drug use and sexuality. Students are encouraged not only to develop greater insight into their own personalities, but also to work as part of a team and over time this enhances their relationships within school and at home with their families.

According to Ms Masterson, the project has been successful in meeting its objectives and the outcomes have been excellent.  “This year’s highlights included a tremendously successful second year of the Celtic Myth Film Project in which students scripted and produced eight films based on Celtic Myth. The premiere was enjoyed by students, parents and staff at the annual end of year Pathways celebrations and graduations.  We are absolutely delighted that the the programme is to benefit from the Dormant Accounts Fund as it will enable us to extend the opportunity to considerably more students.  We are really looking forward to what we can do this year working with second and third year students.”

Minister for Education and Science, Ms Mary Hanafin, will visit the Presentation Secondary School in Warrenmount, Dublin 8 on Tuesday 18th October at 1.30pm to officially launch the extension of the programme and to meet the students from the two schools involved in the project, their parents and teachers.  The students will demonstrate some of their work and describe the activities they have been involved in as part of the Pathways through Education project.

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