Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Sorca Clarke TD, has urged government to increase school funding to appropriate levels following the release of a damning OECD report.
Speaking today, Teachta Clarke said:
“It is clear that schools in Ireland have been struggling for many years due to the government’s failure to invest in the level of funding that they need.
“This underfunding of schools has parents to the pin of their collars, having to fork out more money than ever for ‘voluntary’ contributions to send their children to school. Principals and teachers are under huge pressure, as they struggle to get on with doing their jobs properly while also navigating these severe funding challenges.
”After speaking with many concerned principals and teachers across the country it was of no surprise when I read in the OECD’s recent report that Ireland is lagging behind neighbours when it comes to funding schools.
“The report found that OECD countries spend on average 1.5% of their GDP on primary education, however Ireland spends just 1.2%.
“There is a discernible and alarming difference when compared to our neighbouring countries. This must change.
“I have continually urged the government to end the scandal of under-funding schools. The government must act to make education genuinely free and accessible to everyone.
“We need to see a sense of urgency from the government immediately. Budget 2024 must not be another missed opportunity from the government. We need to see our schools finally get the funding they need and deserve.
“Sinn Féin are committed to tackling the issue of underfunding in education and alleviating the financial burden for families and schools. A post-primary book scheme is just a first step. We need to deal with capitation grants and fund the Summer Works Scheme, the ICT Grant programme and many others.
“Government must act now to properly fund schools.”