The Budget brought many unseen cutbacks to our schools which have left me stunned. How a Minister for Education can allow Ireland to slip to last in Europe on the issue of class size defies belief. When Ireland was one of the wealthiest nations on the planet we should have been investing in education to secure our future. Now we are bottom of the league. The young people of Ireland deserve better than this and they need the voices of their parents and teachers to tell this government to back off using educational cutbacks to bail out the mismanagement of the public finances.
Aside from the raisng of class sizes, there have been many other cutbacks. Not only are we not going to get the €252 million for ICT in schools promised in the NDP, but there is a 29% cutback on current spending on ICT in this budget. So the message to schools is clear – if you want technology in your schools buy it yourselves! Continue the cake sales and other fundraising if you want ICT to be a tool for learning because the government won’t be giving you anything. But not every school is in a position to find funds from their parent base and so the digital divide will widen. So not only will we have the highest class sizes in Europe, we will have the lowest spending on ICT for schools in Europe also. It is only the quality and dedicatioon of our teachers that is preventing our educational services sinking to that of a third world country. Shame on the Government!