The Children’s Rights Alliance, a coalition of over 80 NGOs working to secure the rights and needs of children living in Ireland, has today backed the campaign to overturn the series of education cuts hitting education. The Alliance has stated that these 32 cuts are contrary to both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and are in breach of the Government’s Towards 2016 commitments. The Alliance is in no doubt that the proposed cuts in Budget 2009, if implemented, would have a severe impact on the education system and fail to provide children with the start that they deserve.
Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive of the Alliance, says: ‘Read the small print in Budget 2009 and you will see that the Budget is about cutting children out of a future. This is not just about class sizes and fewer teachers, it is root-and-branch cuts in relation to special educational needs, early education, language support, school transport, teacher education, as well as the abolition of certain school grants in essential areas like child literacy. Cuts to education will not save us from this financial crisis – it will merely store-up more trouble for tomorrow’s children. Investment in early education, primary education and secondary education is about cultivating children – our most important natural resource – and ensuring that they don’t, in the words of Barack Obama “begin the race of life behind the starting line”. Despite having the second highest GDP per capita PPS (purchasing power standards) in the EU-27 zone, the State’s expenditure on public educational institutions trails behind far poorer states, coming in at only 20th. This is a make or break juncture for the Government and, with the global credit crunch, the situation is likely to worsen unless we invest in our children. The proposed cuts to education do not add up.’
The Children’s Rights Alliance has already voiced its concern to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Barry Andrews TD. The Alliance has called on its members to attend the rally, to be held outside the Dáil on Wednesday 29 October at 6pm, to voice their opposition to Budget 2009 and its education cuts.
For further information, please contact:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087-7702845; Fax: (01) 662 9355
Notes to Editor:
The Alliance has produced a useful paper on the Budget, Analysis of Budget 2009 and its Impact on Children, which can be found at www.childrensrights.ie