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Sinn Féin calls for Educational support for Ethnic Children

28 June, 2005

Sinn Fein MLA Michael Ferguson has called upon the Department of Education to meet its Human Rights Obligations to Ethnic Children under Article 2 Protocol 1 of UN Convention following a meeting with the INTO on the impact of cuts to the Education Budget.

"English as an Additional Language" Teachers across the Five Educational Library Boards found their Services surplus to requirement following the announcement of £31.6 million cut to the Education Budget and as a direct consequence many have been forced into redundancy and others have secured work elsewhere.

The problem however, is that there as many 500 Children across the Education & Library Board who have a legal entitlement to Educational support and only 12 weeks to provide it.

Commenting upon the situation Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson said,

"We have at least 500 children for whom we have legislative duty of educational care and because of appalling bad management and the absence of a coordinated and strategic approach to the delivery of Education to these children they may find themselves falling behind educationally. This could lead to apathy and children giving up on schooling, adding to the ever increasing number leaving school with literacy and numeracy difficulties.

"It is essential that the Department of Education come up with an interim proposal that meets these children's educational needs in the short term. In the longer term we need a policy on the educational needs of ethnic children that is rolled out across the Six Counties in a strategic way that makes sense.

"The Department of Education is currently sailing very close to denying these ethnic children their human rights as guaranteed under Article 2, Protocol 1." ENDS

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