Article from the Jan 2005 issue of the Socialist , newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI
Proper funding for Education
by Brian Booth, NIPSA Branch 517 South Eastern Education & Library Board
THE EDUCATION & Library Boards have all been rocked by massive shortfalls, and have submitted accounts that show deficits or will do so in the next financial year.
We can reveal that over the next three years the five Education Boards are on course for a £150 million shortfall between them. These shortfalls are going to be felt right in the heart of schools in the months ahead. Redundancies are looming in schools, libraries, and support services right across the country are facing chaos.
The government's policy of under funding education is the source of the problem. The local political parties failed to tackle the government's policies when the Assembly was up and running. Now their failure to secure proper funding is being felt by parents and staff in schools and will impact directly on school students.
One issue that can be highlighted is energy costs: heating, lighting, the everyday utilities we take for granted. Oil costs this year alone have soared by 25%, which means an extra expenditure of £1.25 million across the Boards.
Natural gas has soared by 14%, which is a combined rise of £150,000. As well as this, electricity has increased by 9.5%, giving a combined cost uplift of £1 million collectively. How can any public service survive without the necessary increase in its budget allocation?
This government has no problem throwing away our money on the Iraq war machine, but won't finance our future, which is our children.
What is required is a widespread campaign of action spearheaded by the unions to oppose all cuts and to demand adequate funding for education and for all public services.
As a first step, the education unions should now call a one-day strike with mass rallies to highlight this barbaric attack on our education services.
Earlier pieces on Education cuts, etc. are listed here