Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has called on the Government to urgently address the significant underfunding issues in Irish schools, and bring an end to the pressure on parents to make up the shortfall.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire’s comments come as the OECD rank Ireland last of 36 developed countries, in terms of investment in Education.
The Cork South Central TD said
“Reports from OECD today, ranking Ireland last in terms of investment in Education, are a dire read – but they are not surprising.
“Successive governments have slashed the capitation grant, leaving schools struggling to pay for essential services such as heat and light, and having to rely on fundraising and contributions from parents to make up the shortfall.
“I have spoken to dozens of families over the last number of weeks, who are being crippled by requests for contributions from schools, some schools asking for up to €400 per child.
“These are enormous sums to expect families to pull together, on top of paying for uniforms, books, transport and everything else that comes with the costs of the return to school.
“We know the reason that this is happening – the Government has consistently underfunded our schools to the point that they have no choice but to ask parents for help to keep their school running. This cannot continue.
“Next Tuesday, I will introduce legislation in the Dáil that will regulate the practice of voluntary contributions, putting pressure on Government to properly fund our schools and bring an end to the burden on families to make up the Government’s shortfalls.
“Sinn Féin is calling on the Government to finally give our schools the funding and resources they need to give our children the education they deserve. The pressure on families each year must end.”