My name is Jane Hayes Nally.
I am a 17 Year old student in St Mary’s High School. I am in 5th year at the minute and I am also the president of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union. We represent the second-level students in Ireland and we believe in an education system without barriers. I want to study science when I finish school. I want to go to college and I want to make my contribution to the social, cultural and economic growth of the Irish society.
I want a future. I want the chance to stay in Ireland and to study in Ireland. I, and many of my fellow students are marching on this day because we need to be heard. We are telling this country that we need publicly funded education in order for us to have this opportunity. We need publicly funded education so that we get a chance to study, to better ourselves and to become qualified. But we are not alone however and we are not just students marching here today. We are among our parents, our teachers and our future lecturers. We are with members of national unions, organisations and charities. We are among people that believe in the same right to education as we do.
Education Is: A human right and education is my right.
Education Is: My opportunity to create, to succeed, to achieve.
Education is the essential exchange of information from teacher to classroom, lecturer to laboratory, author to readership, and speaker to the world.
Education Is the remembrance of history to prevent its disasters repeating itself. It’s is the comprehension of science in order to react with our environment peacefully, and to further discover our universe.
Education Is the art of the world’s languages, the successful communication between two people, and the appreciation of the way words can change the world.
Education Is the promotion of mathematics and logic, the engine behind advancements in technology and computers, and the reason why we are edging closer to a world where 6.8 billion people could all be connected online.
Education Is debate, discussion, dispute. It is an opportunity to open one’s mind, to consider ideas you could not have imagined.
There is no justification for a scheme which will limit the access of Irish people to education. There is no justification for burdening our students with debts when we are in a position to fund these opportunities, just like the Cassells report deemed viable. Let us not make education exclusive to the students who can afford to fund it privately, and forcing those who must take out loans to pay more for education, | as will happen when loan payments and interest are combined. Let us not deplete the number of mature and part-time students who study in our colleges, as has been experienced in Australia and the UK. Let us open education up to all, make it equal, inclusive, and accessible.
And Today we’re saying: Listen US!
And listen loud and clear, because we’re saying No to student debt.
No to an unsustainable loan scheme.
We are saying No to an unequal education system.
We are saying No to limiting access to education.
We are saying NO to denying me MY future! To depriving me of the opportunity to enter third level education. ME and many of my fellow students.
It comes down to a choice.
We have a choice in what kind of Ireland will exist in the future.
By improving Irish education today, we can improve the Ireland of tomorrow.