Education ‘standing still’ due to cutbacks

 

FIONA GARTLAND

SCHOOLS: CUTS IN education “made no sense” and will end up costing money, the chief executive of Educate Together has said.

Speaking in advance of the launch of the multi-denominational school patrons’ Five Priorities for our Education System, Paul Rowe also said reduced investment in education meant Ireland was “standing still while other economies are sprinting ahead”.

Educate Together was established in the mid-1970s and now has 58 schools across the State.

Its five priorities for a new government include that multi-denominational education should be available to all children; that education budgets should be protected and fully spent; and that Educate Together secondary schools should be established.

It has also said prefabs that are “expensive to lease, heat and maintain”, should be phased out and replaced with permanent schools, which would also provide jobs and get builders “off the dole”.

Cuts to classroom supports and services should be reversed. Mr Rowe said the cuts made in education services made little sense and would cost money over time.

“This is particularly true of the budget reductions for special needs, English language, Traveller community and educational psychology supports,” he said.

“These services benefit not only the child they support, but the class environment as a whole. Their removal creates real problems on our overly full classrooms.” He said prioritising the organisation’s policies would benefit every child.

Although expenditure in education had increased in the Celtic Tiger years, it had contracted to the point where even allocated funds were not being spent.

“This has serious consequences for our education system as our population is growing,” he said.

“In real terms investment in Ireland is well behind where it should be and Ireland has far less of a claim to the land of saints and scholars title than previous governments would have you believe.”

The Irish Times – Monday, February 7, 2011

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