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éirígí Condemn Attacks on Education System

15/11/11

Daithí Mac An Mháistiréirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mháistir has slammed the Dublin government’s plans to cut funding to the education system. Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s student demonstration in Dublin Mac An Mháistir said:

“The last number of months has witnessed a steady drip-feed of leaks from the government about its intentions for the education system. As recently as last weekend we had media stories about plans to cut grant and maintenance funding for post-graduate students. It is clear to the dogs on the street that the Dublin government are preparing the ground for major changes to the entire education system in this state. It appears that these changes will see class sizes at primary and secondary level increase whilst those attending third and fourth level will be forced to pay astronomical sums of money to complete their studies.

“When taken together these attacks on the education system represent a very significant blow to the very idea of free education for all. Without such a system the inequality gap in Irish society will continue to widen. Without access to a high quality free education system those from less well off backgrounds will face very real difficulties in attaining secondary level education, never mind third or fourth.

“The reason behind all of these attacks on the education system is, of course, the IMF/EU deal which the government has signed up to. The very idea of a free lifetime education system is anathema to the neo-liberal ideologues that run the IMF and the EU. They claim that austerity measures, including the slashing of education spending, are necessary for economic recovery – something which even the densest of Fine Gael and Labour ministers must be able to see through. How can the downgrading of an education system help with economic recovery? Where is the much talked about ‘smart economy’ going to come from if only the rich can access the higher levels of the education system?

“Cutting the budget of the education system is an act of social and economic vandalism which will be regretted for generations to come. A quality education system isn’t like a tap that can be turned on and off at will. It takes years of proper funding and planning to build the appropriate physical infrastructure and to develop the necessary pool of skilled and experienced teachers, academics, administrators and so forth. Cuts that take one budget to introduce could take decades to recover from.”

Mac An Mháistir concluded: “We in éirígí believe that a state-funded lifetime education system is an essential element of a just and stable society. We believe education to be one of the key drivers for the breaking down of class barriers as well as the ending of discrimination and inequality. We commend those students that are willing to bring the fight for a free education system directly to the government and encourage students and non-students alike to join the fight-back against the cuts to the education system.”

 

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