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Tóibín urges government to reverse cut to career guidance posts

12 January, 2012

Speaking in the Dáil today on a Sinn Féin motion on DEIS schools Peadar Tóibín, TD for Meath West, stated there is no silver bullet that will solve any country’s problems but the most powerful tool for progress as a nation is Education.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Education is central to the development of a prosperous and robust economy. How many times have we heard the buzz words of smart economy or knowledge economy. All meaningless given that the last government and this one keep reducing investment.

“A couple of years ago this state's investment in education was below the OECD average. Since then we have had traveller support teachers removed, English as an acquired language teachers removed, SNAs removed, Home School Liaison removed. We have had this attack on the DEIS schools, we have small schools under pressure causing major problems in rural areas especially in the Gaeltacht.

“Up to 700 career guidance teachers will also lose their positions. They will be moved out of their role and will start teaching again in the classroom. Many of the young teachers they will be replacing will as a result lose their jobs. Career guidance teachers carry out the IQ testing, carry out the aptitude testing, psychometric tests and interest tests for our students, they help students pick correct subjects at first year and at fifth year. They help students make informed decisions when they fill out their CAO Forms, UCAS forms, Post Leaving Certificate courses or apprenticeships and much more.

“But most importantly guidance counsellors look after the mental health of our students. In many ways career guidance teachers are the first port of call for students who have suffered from physical or sexual abuse, or who have suicidal or self-harm tendencies. Due to the critical role these teachers play I urge the government to reverse their decision on this issue.” ENDS

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