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Primary school classroom overcrowding an educational emergency - McDonald

24 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary-Lou McDonald has today described the revelations in today’s media that 110,000 primary school children were in classes of over 30 last year as an “educational emergency”.

Ms McDonald said:

“At the outset of the last Dáil term a government commitment was made to reduce primary school class sizes, but yet again they have failed to deliver.  

“Sinn Féin has consistently called on government to implement our party’s recommendations on education. In our election manifesto we committed to increase spending on education to 6% of GDP, inline with best international practice.

“We also committed to increase funding per pupil at pre-school and primary level since investment in early education is central to the development and well being of young people.

“I am calling on the government to ensure through legislation that fully resourced educational facilities are included in every major development plan. This would go some way to ensure that the current situation of overcrowded classrooms and children being taught in prefabs does not continue into the long term future.

“Current overcrowding in primary schools is an educational emergency and this government must treat it as such.  The state has a duty of care to its citizens therefore government’s refusal to adequately invest in education cannot continue. There is absolutely no justification for 110,000 primary school students be in classes of 30 or more, the benefits of smaller class sizes are undeniable.” Críoch

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