Over 300 teachers and parents from Cavan and Monaghan attended a meeting in the Glencarn Hotel, Castleblayney, last Wednesday - one of 24 meetings held around the country on the threat to class sizes in the upcoming Budget.
One concerned parent, Sharon Karahar from County Monaghan, said cuts to child education were “immoral”:
“Tonight, we hear that Ireland has the second largest classes in the EU.
“How can one person have time to listen and talk to each child? How can one person make sure that twenty-five or thirty or even more children are all coping with school life, that they are mixing well and not being left out, that they are reaching their potential in every single area of the curriculum?
“It is bad enough that we, their parents, have had pay cuts, tax increases like the property tax and water charges, and many have even lost their jobs, but surely it is unjust and even immoral, to enforce cuts on our children.”
Pete McMahon a chairperson from the board of management of a Monaghan school spoke about the financial pressures on schools:
“It dilutes the amount of time a teacher can spend with each child. This is a wake-up call for the Minister for Education and his Government. Your continuous cuts to our education system are impacting on the ground in schools. You must protect primary education now in this budget by putting a stop to increasing class size and preventing any further cuts to our schools.”
Mary Jones, a teacher, said “children cannot be cluttered into large classes, like battery hens.”
“It must not happen. Our message is clear to Government. The bones are bare, you have picked them clean,” she said.
Sean McMahon, vice president of the INTO said investment in education should not be sacrificed.
“If we want to create problem solvers and critical thinkers children have to be allowed to think critically and to solve problems. Child-centred, activity-led education of this kind cannot be done in overcrowded classrooms.
“Where is the money going? To serve a department not created by your children. The speculators, bankers, institutions seem to be able to disappear into some kind of limbo where there is no retribution,” he said, while urging people to keep the pressure on local TDs to protect primary education.
A year of the Anglo Celts, user-friendly on all platforms, makes a perfect gift for loved ones overseas. An annual digital subscription costs €99. Click here to subscribe or view a sample digital edition.