OECD Report highlights failure of government to invest in education – Deputy O’Brien
Findings contained in today’s publication of the Education at a Glance 2013 Report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have been described as “alarming” by Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien.
Deputy O’Brien said: “According to the OECD, the proportion of public expenditure on education in Ireland fell from 13.7 per cent to 9.7 per cent in the decade between 2000 and 2010.
“Ireland is now ranked in 29th place out of 32 OECD countries in terms of the percentage of public expenditure that is spent on our education system.
“These alarming figures reflect the numerous cuts that have impacted across the education sector in recent years, with school budgets, staffing schedules and important frontline services being badly hit.
“This week education minister, Ruairí Quinn, has been forced to do a U-turn and provide additional resources to meet the increasing need of children with special needs. And whilst Sinn Féin welcomes this change in policy, there are still fears that the minister plans to take resources from other parts of the education budget to pay for the additional 500 resource teachers and he has talked about increasing to the pupil-teacher ratio at time when Irish classrooms are amongst the highest in Europe.
“This is unacceptable and Sinn Féin will strenuously oppose any measures that will further impact on the delivery of the school curriculum.
"What this OECD Report highlights is that the government, likes it predecessors, are paying lip service to building the knowledge based economy and instead of ring-fencing funding for education, resources are being gutted.
“This is happening at a time when the school population is projected to rise significantly over the next decade and the dwindling education budget will have serious implications for our future employment prospects and hinder our capacity to grow our economy.” ends