Government TD warns against Penny wise but Pound foolish increase in Pupil/Teacher ratio in upcoming Budget.

One Government TD has written to Education Minister Ruairí Quinn expressing his opposition to any increase in the Pupil/Teacher ratio in next month’s budget and urged capping the number of students that can be accommodated in primary classrooms. Cork South West Fine Gael TD Jim Daly who is also a member of the Oireachtas Education committee has urged the Minister not to jeopardize Ireland’s current economic recovery by reducing the quality of learning in our schools. Deputy Daly has highlighted the case of a school in his constituency which currently has 39 Infants in one classroom, a situation he says points to the need for the introduction of a maximum cap on the number of students in any classroom. “Any Teacher who will manage 39 infants in one room deserves to be canonized” according to Jim Daly.
The Government back bench TD and former School Principal is adamant that he has previously supported unpopular moves to make savings in the education budget such as changes to staffing schedules in small schools but believes we have now reached a tipping point in cuts to the education budget. “I always believed that it was wrong to have two teacher schools with no more than a dozen students between the two teachers and on that basis supported the increases in ratios in small schools. We are now however at that point where any further increases will seriously undermine our teaching and learning outcomes and deprive generations of our children of the future they deserve.” stated Jim Daly.
Recent comments by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn have suggested that he is considering increasing the current pupil teacher ratio in primary schools in next month’s budget. The current pupil/teacher ratio in primary schools is 28:1. Some reports have suggested that this may be increased to 30:1 after next month’s budget.
“I believe that this Government must acknowledge the role education will play in our recovery. The narrative around job creation needs to include references to and increased emphasis on our educational system.” according to the Fine Gael TD who considers Ireland’s educational system as excellent value for money. “If you look at the layers of management and enormous expense involved in the administration of our Health Service and contrast this with the minimalist cost of management and administration in our schools. It quickly becomes very evident that our education system represents great value for money. I fully support the current INTO led campaign against any increases in the pupil teacher ratio in primary schools. I believe that any move by this Government to increase the pupil teacher ratio would be penny wise and pound foolish. Now that we have started to enter recovery mode it is vital to all of our futures that we protect the quality of our education to ensure a sustained and successful transition to a new independent economy.” Concluded Jim Daly.