The brain drain must be slowed down and people in current education have to be offered signs of hope, that their future lies away from Ireland. A student council that becomes more actively involved in the governance of the Department of Education has to be established. An Education Watchdog has to be established to tackle wasteful spending and oversee contracts that are being issued. The issue of over rent being charged to the Department regarding prefabs is a matter of grave concern. Future builds and purchases, should have a proposed budget and a transparent selection process, as this has been openly abused by the political class.
It should be also proposed that a new programme will be established in local communities where people in the teaching side of education that are seeking employment, will be offered experience and a subsidy, on a programme that will help people up skill. A local pool of student teachers and recently qualified teachers should be established to help unemployed and employed alike to upskill in various disciplines. It is proposed that possibly NAMA listed commercial buildings in central locations are utilized and that fit outs would be conducted by local trades people to make these areas comfortable and welcoming to people in need of these services. It would be proposed that people would be able to achieve an Open University type qualification at the end of it. In fact the Open University template would be advised as the model to base it on, so people could actually achieve worthwhile awards. We strongly oppose taking people off the live register to do meaningless, non-viable courses that carry no credit in the workplace or in the search for future employment.
A lot of people in full time employment receive no assistance in furthering their studies on a part time basis. No grants are available and the costs are prohibitive in relation to taking on courses. It is suggested that if someone undertakes these courses that a deposit loan is made available to them in the region of €500. A tax break will be afforded to the potential student to the value of the monthly cost of paying the course. If completed there will be no penalties or repayments and they will revert back to their standard tax rate. The hope is that once qualified that the individual will be in a position to achieve a job on a higher salary scale, which will be of greater benefit to the exchequer in the long run. People in employment with a willingness to undertake further study would be more likely to complete courses and especially if they were penalised in their take home pay if they quit.
We would like to see measures introduced to see schools and teachers financially rewarded, commensurate with performance of the school overall and pupils. If schools are not performing funding should be withheld until they enforce changes that show improvement.
We are seriously concerned with classrooms that have over 30 students. Primary school classes must at least return to the European average of 24.3. Children will be lost in the system and their learning needs not met. It is unreasonable to expect teachers to maintain discipline in classes of over 30 and maintain discipline. Also to ensure that the learning needs of each students are met, giving that child the maximum potential to achieve an education which will allow them to realise the greatest career and quality of life possible.