Dis­crim­i­na­tion against church schools makes a myth of free ed­u­ca­tion

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - OPINION -

IN a week when An Post is­sued a stamp to com­mem­o­rate the 50th an­niver­sary of the in­tro­duc­tion of free sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion in Ire­land there has been much con­tro­versy about a Tralee school’s re­quest for an an­nual vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tion.

Free sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion is a myth, when most Ir­ish sec­ondary schools in­sist upon more costly be­spoke uni­form items and par­ents are obliged to spend an av­er­age of €200 on school text books and sta­tionery. Added to this, al­most all church sec­ondary schools de­mand an an­nual ‘vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tion’, av­er­ag­ing in ex­cess of €150 per stu­dent to sup­ple­ment school in­come. The con­tri­bu­tion is needed be­cause church schools have €526 per teacher de­ducted by govern­ment from their an­nual cap­i­ta­tion bud­gets.

Ire­land’s Fed­er­a­tion of Catholic Sec­ondary Schools Par­ents’ As­so­ci­a­tions has re­cently launched a cam­paign to rec­tify the present un­just fi­nan­cial dis­crim­i­na­tion against their chil­dren’s schools and work hard to make free ed­u­ca­tion a re­al­ity. We need our lo­cal TDs to give full back­ing to this equal­ity ini­tia­tive.

Sin­cerely, Alan Whe­lan, Kil­lar­ney.

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