Time for action on ‘voluntary’ contributions and capitation grants
Labour Education spokesperson, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has said parents shouldn’t be forced to pick up the tab for Government cutbacks when it comes to educating their children.
It comes as the Catholic Primary Schools Managers’ Association has called for the capitation grant to be restored to €200 per pupil.
Senator Ó Ríordáin said:
“Parents are increasingly having to pick up the tab for Government cutbacks when it comes to their childrens’ education, which is placing enormous pressure on families across the country.
“According to Barnardos’ annual ‘School Costs’ survey from last year, 69% of primary school parents are asked for a voluntary contribution to help fund schools, with many ‘pressurised and chased’ for the money.
“It also says that a number of parents are ‘forced’ into debt to cover these costs, with some engaging with money lenders or taking out high interest credit card loans.
“Given that our Constitution specifically provides for free primary education for our children, this is an outrageous situation, and is becoming an increasing burden for numerous families, many of whom are already struggling with day to day living costs, including high rents.
“It shouldn’t be incumbent on parents to make up for spending cutbacks by the Government via so-called ‘voluntary’ contributions, and the capitation grant must be restored to its pre-cut level of €200 per pupil.
“Last week I sought permission from the Parliamentary Labour Party to draft legislation to abolish these so-called ‘voluntary’ contributions, which I will be presenting to my colleagues tomorrow for their approval and will hopefully publish soon after.
“Every child in the State should have equal access to a quality education and parents shouldn’t be burdened with hidden costs for the basic running of a school along the way.”