Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Sorca Clarke TD, has said that while this week’s announcement of (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) STEM funding will be welcomed by successful applicant schools, it further underlines the stark disparity and inequality when it comes to the funding of and access to education.
Deputy Clarke added that all schools deserve to be adequately funded by government, and that schools should not be forced to compete against one another for funds.
Teachta Clarke said:
“This week’s announcement of STEM funding will of course be welcomed by those schools who were successful in their applications.
“But the role of the government is to adequately fund all schools, and to make education accessible to all. It is not a win for the Minister for Education to partially fund some schools when others are left empty-handed.
“This further highlights the disparity and inequality that so many of our schools and students endure.
“There is no evidence that a student-centred or even a needs-based approach was taken when it came to deciding how these funds would be awarded.
“It is the government’s job to ensure that no school is left behind, yet there is no evidence of strategic planning meaning that so many school communities remain unable to plan on a multi-year basis.
“Schools should not be in competition with each other for necessary resources, and STEM is a vital part of learning that all students should be able to access.
“It is no wonder that principals report burnout and parents express frustration when a lottery system is the best way the Minister can conceive to allocate essential funding.
“It is clear from speaking with principals that they are fearful of a two-tier education system emerging whereby some schools miss out on funding like this entirely while others who are already in a stronger starting position benefit more.”