O’Brien says education budget is underwhelming and is nowhere near what was needed
Speaking from the Dáil today, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said that the measures relating to education in Budget 2016 are the minimum required to cater for the increased primary and post-primary school going population.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“The education budget measures are the minimum required for the increases to the primary and post primary school going population. The only positive is the decrease to the pupil teacher ratio €18million for the extra teachers required. There is only €24m in new spend to meet additional students attending school. School capitation grants haven't been increased so that they can meet their basic running costs. This means they will be forced to beg for funding from the Minor Works fund. It looks like the Department is robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“The Minister has also included an extra €6million spend for Junior Cert reforms that haven’t even been agreed by the teacher unions yet.
“There is a lot of talk of supporting DEIS schools and continuing to support third level students but there’s no mention of increasing funds for DEIS schools or reducing the student contribution fee.
“This budget is a missed opportunity. They could have reduced the Student Contribution Fee and increased capitation grants and restored the SOLAS training allowance, or increased resource hours by 15% but they failed to do so.
“Most of this budget is dressing up the minimum they actually need to do as new to make it sound like a new initiative and it falls far short of the mark.
“The parents of children whose SNA and resource time was reduced by 15% a number of years ago, and the students who are paying €3,000 a year to go to underfunded third level and the apprentices paying increased fees for the college part of their training will not be fooled by this.”