New Education Report is a wake-up call for the Government — Ó Ríordáin

16 November 2017

Labour Party Education spokesperson, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has said the recently published Bertelsmann Stifung report on education across the European Union challenges the notion that our education system could be the best in Europe. 

Senator Ó Ríordáin commented: 

“The report lays bare the nonsense that Minister Bruton has been peddling that our education system in its current state has the potential the best in Europe.

“The report published criticises our ‘two-tier’ secondary education system. This should come as no surprise to Minister Bruton, who has consistently railed against the principle of free education. It is clear that at the moment free education is still an aspiration in this country. Parents are incurring too many hefty hidden back to school charges and the Government is doing little to ease the burdens parents face.

“The Minister has proved time and time again that he is out of touch when it comes for pay equalisation for our teachers. He has previously pitted teachers against their students by implying that if there was to be pay equalisation for teachers, students would lose out on resources. Instead of pitting children against teachers, the Minister needs to work with teaching unions to address the issues that teachers across the country are facing. The Minister should be setting out a clear roadmap as to how we can ensure young teachers are receiving equal pay for equal work.

“So far the Government have showed no willingness to take on vested interests in education to drive a radical agenda of change. We have been reduced to tinkering measures and a consistent move to an economic model of educational provision – based on individuality, not the common Good.

“Other countries such as Finland have based their educational philosophy on the principle of equality. This report is a wake-up call to government to do the same.

“Next year to mark the 20th anniversary of the Education Act, I will be seeking consultation on how we can have a new Education Act for the modern Ireland we live in.”

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