Education needs to be for all, not just for those who can afford it
Ahead of students making the transition from second to third level education, Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called for the establishment of a system for scholarships and grants, as finances are an extra burden.
Speaking during a debate on a report dealing with the Strategic Framework for cooperation in education and training, Ms Ní Riada said,
“Access to sufficient finance for students is absolutely vital for their studies, however but I do not believe we should be advocating that our children leave college, ready to embark on their chosen career path already thousands of euros in debt, due to a student loan.
“In Ireland there needs to be a better system in place for scholarships and grants to help students attend third level education. Ireland has some of the brightest and best young people in Europe, we should be investing in them not only for their sake, but for the development of our county.
“Deposits for accommodation, rent, food, books and materials are some of the costs involved with furthering your education and the registration fee of €3,000 a year, is already the second highest in Europe.
A member of the Committee of Culture and Education in the European Parliament, Ní Riada continued,
“Some weeks students are faced with the decision of buying food for themselves or buying pricey course material to enable them to progress.
“Research conducted by the Union of Students in Ireland revealed that 87% of students fear having to drop out of college because of the cost of education; this is wholly unacceptable.
“Education is a basic right and it is our job as legislators to ensure access to education for all and not just those who can afford it.