I speak – not for myself, but for all… I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights: Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated.
Malala Yousafzai, youngest ever Nobel Prize Laureate
Everyone has the right to education. The provision of education should be truly free – without the necessity for ‘voluntary contributions’ – up to at least primary degree level. The provision of professional and technical education should be affordable and available to all and should be equally accessible.
Three basic priorities for any new government should be:
- To reduce the ratio of students to teachers from among the highest levels in the EU to the lowest.
- The restoration of and increased provision of Special Needs Assistants (SNA’s) – which should be seen as an investment in the most vulnerable of our children.
- Investment in early childhood education should be provided in line with a progressive childcare policy which would facilitate the option for parents to enter or leave the workforce.
Education is an investment in the future of the nation whereby we can develop a productive and cohesive society. More funding for the apprenticeship programme and a coordinated jobs policy promoting labour-intensive industries should form part of any future government education programme. A modern dynamic economy is dependent on well-educated citizens, increasing employment opportunities and providing the opportunities to create new services and technologies.
A Progressive Government will secularise the education system and promote an education model that develops critical thinking with an active citizenship focus.
Multi-nationals benefit from a highly educated workforce therefore a proportion of corporation tax should be ring-fenced to fund third-level education following the elimination by this Government of fees.