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July 2017

Irish Congress of Trade Unions BDC 2017


  John Boyle_750x255

John Boyle  (INTO President)

John Boyle  (INTO President)

Wed 5 July 2017

Yesterday the President of Ireland spoke about the importance of a universal education system for the fulfilment of human potential. Today I say the only thing more expensive than investing in education is not investing in education.

Every cent spent on education is an investment in every citizen. Not everyone will go to university. Yet every child in Ireland will attend primary and secondary school. What they experience there will have an impact for life.

The INTO’s vision for education is one of small classes that allow teachers to support each child individually. We need well-funded schools with professional, dedicated teachers who are led and supported by excellent school leaders. We believe that with proper funding and support, all children will have a real chance to fulfil their potential, whatever challenges they face.

It is time to decide what is valuable in society. Early investment in education will reap real rewards for society. The trade union movement must campaign for a huge increase in the education budget so that children from marginalised communities and children with special education needs can be guaranteed equal and inclusive access to lifelong education.

The education budgets North and South have been slashed in the last decade. We are languishing near the bottom of the OECD investment table at approximately 5.5% of GDP. The average is 7%.

We Irish like to say we value education. Now let’s stand up for education. Let’s value education and demand the higher investment will benefit every citizen in the state and particularly the most vulnerable.

No class should have more than 20 pupils. International research states that in a class of 20 or fewer, children stand the best chance of fully achieving their potential.

The quality of Irish teachers is envied all over the world.  So why do politicians implement policies designed to train teachers for export. How can a government expect the continuation of that quality when it insists on paying young teachers at a different rate to those who graduated before 2011? How can politicians justify the awarding of a ZERO per cent pay award to teachers in northern Ireland?

Date: Wednesday, 5 July 17