The scant mention of education in today’s Budget announcement demonstrates the Government’s lack of commitment to addressing Ireland’s serious education funding deficit, the ASTI President Deirdre Mac Donald has said.
“At a time of growing student numbers, initiative overload and substantial curriculum change, Ireland ranks in last place out of 35 countries for investment in second-level education as a percentage of GDP. What this means is that schools and teachers are overstretched and students are missing out,” said Ms Mac Donald.
“Budget 2020 does little to address Ireland’s education funding deficit in the coming year. Given the sustained economic growth in recent years, this is unacceptable. If the Government wants Ireland to be future fit it must invest far more in our young people’s education.”
The ASTI President said that the increase in mainstream teachers announced in Budget 2020 is due to demographics rather than an improvement in the pupil-teacher ratio:
“The pupil-teacher allocation ratio at second level is worse than it was in 2009. Today’s Budget does nothing to change this.”
Guidance and counselling/ middle management
“We are disappointed that no mention has been made of restoration of guidance and counselling teaching services for students or middle management posts for schools in 2020,” said Ms Mac Donald.
The ASTI notes that Budget 2020 does not address the fact that thousands of teachers who entered the teaching profession since 2011 are experiencing unequal pay despite indications from Government that the issue needs to be resolved.
Flat rate expenses
Ms Mac Donald said the ASTI is extremely disappointed that Minister Paschal Donohoe did not take the opportunity afforded by his Budget speech to address the proposals that are currently being pursued by the Revenue Commissioners to effectively abolish the flat rate expenses claim regime by making a claim by a worker for incidental expenses unwieldy and impractical. “These proposals, coming at a time when other sections of society continue to receive unfair and disproportionate benefits from other taxation measures, are unacceptable,” stated the ASTI President. “We call on the Minister to abandon these proposals.”