Sinn Féin’s education spokesperson, Seán Crowe TD, has said that ASTI findings, that 64% of second-level schools are considering dropping subjects from their Leaving Cert programmes, are “extremely worrying”.
Deputy Crowe said: “The worst fears of many educationalists are being realised as second level-schools are forced to drop a least one core subject from their Leaving Cert syllabus.
“The subjects most at risk include accounting, chemistry, physics and economics, which are essential if we are to develop the knowledge-based economy needed to generate employment.
“Schools are faced with having to amalgamate higher, ordinary and foundation level classes in response to budget cuts.
“The retrograde decision by the government to end the ex-quota teacher allocation for guidance counselling means an estimated increase in the pupil-teacher ratio of .8.
“This will mean that from September 2012 onwards, there will be 700 less second-level teachers. The ASTI sponsored research also shows that seven out of ten schools are likely to reduce guidance provision by an average of 7.8 hours per week.
“This will greatly impact on the levels of assistance and advice schools can offer their students, and comes at a time when pastoral care and career guidance are needed more than ever.
“In addition there is a two per cent reduction in the school capitation grant which will result in the loss of school tours and trips and the postponement of essential building maintenance work.
“The ASTI research highlights the massive difficulties being imposed on the Irish education system through the implementation of cuts that will lead to teacher burnout and the denial to many young people of the opportunity to reach their full academic potential.”