Sinn Féin backs Aontas' demands on adult education
Sinn Féin's Education spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has expressed the party's support for Aontas' policy platform going into the next General Election. He was speaking at the launch of the adult education organisation's pre-election campaign in Dublin this morning, where he accused the Government of failing to recognise the scale of educational disadvantage in this state.
The Dublin South-West TD said: "Sinn Féin supports the Aontas policy platform facing into the Leinster House elections, however we believe that the bar should be set far higher in the demands we make on the current government and indeed any new one.
"The current coalition refuses to recognise the scale of educational disadvantage, poverty and exclusion in Irish society and worse still the departments of Education, Community Affairs, Health and Social and Family Affairs often work at cross purposes to each other.
"This a growing problem, a 2001 Centre for Cross Border Studies publication found 1.1 million education poor adults on the island, the OECD have consistently registered a literacy problem in Ireland and the recent Education Research Institute study into literacy found that 30% of children at school in disadvantaged areas have reading difficulties. The ESRI has estimated that 400,000 workers have no educational qualifications or recognised workplace skills.
"Sinn Féin recognises the importance of the VECs in being on the front line of tackling adult educational disadvantage and we have consistently deplored the cuts in VTOS and the fact the eligibility criteria of other return to education grants are set too high or are overly complicated for those applying. We support the INTO recommendations that the budget for tackling educational disadvantage be increased by a least 10%."