The young people of Ireland have suffered an extremely traumatic experience over a sustained period of time as a result of Covid-19, ASTI General Secretary Kieran Christie told 450 teachers attending the ASTI online annual conference today.
Mr Christie said that schools must be properly funded if education is to “pick up the pieces”. He said Ireland’s appalling track record for investment in second-level education is well-known. The report Education at a Glance 2020 finds Ireland in last place out of 36 countries in terms of investment in second-level education as a percentage of GDP.
“The system must be provided with additional funding, resources and staffing to support young people in recovering from this pandemic. They deserve no less. In our 2021 RED C survey published last week, second-level teachers told us that smaller classes, access to youth mental health services, and augmented guidance counselling must be prioritised if students’ wellbeing and learning is to thrive post pandemic.”
The ASTI General Secretary said additional funding and resources given to schools relating to Covid-19 should be made permanent. “There must be no education cutbacks when all of this over. Expansion and investment must be the only items on the agenda. Society appreciates like never before the value of education and what schools contribute to society. We must harness this societal appreciation of what we do in terms of the national conversation and ensure that the underinvestment that has characterised public policy in relation to our schools is banished to oblivion.”