TD calls for government to commit to genuinely free education in Budget 2020

State should cover 100% running costs for public schools

Regulate text book companies to and make school books free

People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny has called on the government to give children their constitutional right and provide genuinely free education.

The TD said that the voluntary contribution has become, in reality, a mandatory contribution in most cases. The government should make primary and secondary education free by providing 100% of the funding for running public schools.

He also said the government should make all school books free and clamp down on text book companies “ripping of parents with constant new editions of books”.

He said:

“So called ‘free education’ is in fact very expensive in Ireland. Reports today show that St Vincent De Paul has encountered a massive increase in parents calling them seeking help with back to school costs. This is shocking to hear and must be address in the upcoming budget by the government.

“What the government should do in Budget 2020 is abolish the voluntary contribution and increase its grant to cover 100% of the costs for public schools, primary and secondary, and give children the constitutional right to free education funded through general taxation.

“The government should also make school books free and regulate the text book companies from ripping of parents with constant new editions of books.

“If the government truly believes in genuinely free education for children, which is a constitutional right, they would take these proposals on board and implement them in Budget 2020.”

Notes: Bernardos’ ‘School Costs Survey 2018: 2,200 Parents Say Enough is Enough’ recommends that the state:

• Uphold a child’s constitutional right to free primary education by committing in Budget 2019 to invest an extra €103.2 million annually to make it reality for all children.

• Commit to investing €126.9 million annually to make secondary education free for all children once free primary education has been achieved.