The Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) is greatly concerned by proposals in Budget 2012 to slash the number of second-level teaching posts by 700 and restrict student services for the academic year 2012/13.
We are extremely concerned by any cuts on this scale, but particularly concerned as there are significant reforms taking place in the Junior and Senior Cycle which will require a more diverse range of expertise in school’s teaching staff. Cutting 700 teaching posts will hugely hamper school’s ability to implement the new Junior Cycle syllabus in 2014 – it is envisaged that students will be able to take short-courses in new subject areas, but significant teacher cuts will limit school’s capacity to maintain their current subject load. The Department is misguided in removing additional hours for guidance councilors in schools. A move which will impact directly on vulnerable students.
The ISSU is also concerned at how DEIS schools are being disproportionately hit, and urge the Minister to revisit this decision. Furthermore, we are very disappointed that the allowance for 16 and 17 year olds participating in Youthreach, Community Training Centres and FAS courses is being reduced to €40, and may result in fewer vunerable students remaining in education.
Speaking today, an ISSU spokesperson described the cuts to guidance and counseling services as “shocking”. Sly cuts like this impact on vulnerable students directly. We must remember that guidance councillors do more than just guide students on their options after second-level education, but are also someone students can turn too when they are in need. Guidance Councilors are the bedrock of any school and it is unjust to target this invaluable service.
It is also envisged that schools will have more atonomy over capitation and programme funding – which is a welcome step.
Yet again, young people are suffering for the mistakes of the past decade – a decade in which, we, the celtic tiger cubs were heedless to the negligence of the policy makers that left us in the economic crisis we find ourselves.
ISSU National Office: 01 443 4461