Irish Third-Level students twice as likely to be from affluent backgrounds – Govt should be offended by findings of HEA report

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
07 December 2020
  • Citizens Assembly on education needs to be established to tackle these issues

Irish Third-Level students’ students are twice as likely to be from affluent backgrounds according to the findings of a new report by the Higher Education Authority.

Labour Education Spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said that the Government should be offended by the findings of this new report. Deputy Ó Ríordáin added that the Government need to move on the Programme for Government commitment to establish a commission on the future of education.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“The Government should be embarrassed and offended by the findings of this report which indicate what some of us have been saying for several years. It reveals that some 20% of students are from the most affluent parts of the country compared to just 10% from the most disadvantaged. We have a two-tier education system in this country that is failing an entire generation of people from less affluent backgrounds.

“There are a myriad of issues that need to be tackled to bridge the gap in educational attainment and the Government need to move on establishing the promised Citizens Assembly on the Future of Education which is the correct forum to work through these issues.

“However, the Government are still failing to rectify basic failings such as the pupil teacher ratio for DEIS schools which is not automatically passed onto schools when DEIS schools should be prioritised when it comes to reducing pupil teacher ratios.

“There are hundreds of DEIS schools auctioning children in some of the most disadvantaged and deprived parts of in the country. Many of these students have additional needs and need the reduction in the pupil teacher ratio the most.

“The Government also need to increase the capitation grant for DEIS schools by at least 50%. Schools should not be forced to have fundraisers to pay for essentials and schools in deprived areas and an increase in capitation of DEIS budget needs to be prioritised.

Deputy O Ríordáin continued:

“The Government need to show commitment to addressing the startling inequalities within our education system. They must take immediate measures by ensuring the pupil teacher ratio reduction is passed onto DEIS schools and the capitation grant increased. They also need to move immediately on the establishment of a Citizens Assembly to consider the future of education as promised in the Programme for Government.

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