CHILDREN who are victims of the Ggovernment’s education cutbacks will be less employable, suffer longer periods of joblessness and be a long-term cost to the State, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has warned.
Speaking at the TUI’s annual congress in Rochestown, Co Cork, general secretary Peter MacMenamin said the TUI is “completely
opposed” to the stance the Government has taken both on pay policy and on educational cutbacks.
He said that during the past year, the education system had been “ravaged” as never before.
In an often emotive
address to some 400 delegates, Mr MacMenamin said educational cutbacks that hich would have a devastating impact on children’s future were part of a “very short-sighted policy” and could mean a lifetime of damage for some children.
To applause from the congress, he the general secretery lashed out at the moratorium on filling of positions, announced last month as part of a blanket freeze on recruitment across acrossthe public sector. He said the move “threatened the safe operation of schools”.
Since March, no posts of responsibility, apart from principal and deputy principal, may be filled unless there is specific sanction from the finance minister. for Finance.
But according to the TUI, this will be almost impossible to obtain.
“It is clear that the Department of Finance has no knowledge as to how schools operate, no knowledge as to what happens when post-holders vital to the running of the school retire or move on,” said Mr MacMenamin.
“The potential chaos and likelihood of serious disorder in schools will be laid at the door of the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance. They will be responsible and they will be held accountable.”
Another bone of contention for the TUI was the “significant public
disagreement” between the Mr O’Keeffe and the union as to how many teaching jobs would be lost as a result of cuts.
The minister says 200, the TUI maintains the
figure is in the region of 1,200 at second level.
“In order to obtain official figures, I wrote to the secretary general of the Department of Education and Science on two separate occasions asking for the allocation made to the VECs and to the schools for this year and for the comparable allocations made last year,” said Mr MacMenamin said.
“I have issued reminders about it and yet, almost two months later, these figures have not been
provided. Clearly the
department is not prepared to make public the number of teachers which it allocates to VECs and to schools, all of which are public bodies, paid for out of public funds. It is an
absolute disgrace that the department hides behind some veil of secrecy to conceal these figures from the public.”
Mr MacMenamin called on the minister, who will address the conference
today, to present the figures to the delegates, or if not, to to provide an explanation for not doing so.
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