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SF Education Spokesperson fearful that Minister will increase Pupil Teacher Ratio in October’s budget - O'Brien

3 July, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has expressed his alarm at the refusal of Minister Ruairi Quinn to rule out raising the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) to meet the estimated €66 million cuts that will be applied to the education budget in October.

Deputy O’Brien made his comments after seeking assurances from the Minister today in the Dáil that his recent decision to reverse cuts to resource teaching hours would not be paid for by cutting other essential services.

Deputy O’Brien said:

“The Minister’s decision to reverse the unjustifiable cut in resource teachers, whilst welcome, has led to fears that other essential services in the education sector will be targeted in a similar way to what happened when budget cuts to DEIS schools were reversed in 2012.

“Findings contained in the ‘Education at a Glance 2013’ report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that 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.

“An additional increase in the PTR would be unsustainable, as already we have some of the largest classrooms in Western Europe.

“It is clear that this government, like its 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.”

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