Greens’ plan for drop-out pupils

THE Green Party has proposed a tracking system to quickly identify the hundreds of children who drop out of education after primary school every year.

The system to be based on each child’s Personal Public Service (PPS) number would be included in policy for any government the party helps to form, according to education spokesperson Paul Gogarty.

He said it was essential that mechanisms are created to monitor movements of the estimated 1,000 children who fail to move on to second level annually.

“It’s scandalous that there’s no comprehensive database of primary pupils. A system based on PPS numbers has been talked about for years but the political will hasn’t been exerted to get it up and running.

“As a result, children who drop out of primary school can’t be properly tracked,” he added.

He said the existing second level school database based on the school attendance roll could also benefit from being integrated into the PPS system to give up-to-date information.

“This would allow a child’s movements from one primary or second level school to another to be monitored by an education welfare officer. Those students who have not registered with a second level school could be easily tracked via a computerised system and, using the PPS would also help in the quicker identification of children who have dropped out during the school year at second level,” Mr Gogarty said.

Meanwhile, the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland has said the OECD’s public service review announced by the Government at the weekend holds no fear for the Irish education system. General secretary John White said students here perform very well in comparative studies with other countries but the most noteworthy indicator is Ireland’s 29th place out of 30 countries in terms of investment in each second level student, relative to national income per head of population.

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