Education cuts - Youth key to our future

THERE was a sharp whiff of irony in the air yesterday as the opening of this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition by Taoiseach Enda Kenny clashed with the return of TDs to Dáil Éireann after their three-week Christmas holiday.

In the new session of parliament, debate will concentrate on the nation’s deep financial difficulties. Cuts in the field of education will be a subject of heated argument on the floor of the house.

For thousands of bright young pupils whose research projects and inventions are on display at the RDS the political debate will hold more than normal interest. The question uppermost in the minds of teachers, parents and students alike is whether jobs will be available when the educational course is run.

Today’s pupils are the workforce of the future so the last thing a government should do is impose cuts in the classroom. The question is whether they will have to emigrate in search of work or if the thousands of jobs envisaged in the Government’s latest action plan will be delivered? Worryingly, with long-term unemployment levels now at over 41% of all dole claimants, the scheme looks long on promise but short on specifics.

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