Don't cut the Education Budget, Brian!
Primary school principals are urging the Irish government not to cut funding for education in the up-coming budget.
The Irish Primary Principals' Network (IPPN) says the economic downturn will have a short term impact on the country, but increasing investment in education now will make sure we are ready for the upturn when it comes.
After meeting to discuss the cutbacks necessary in the budget yesterday, government ministers indicated there are difficult decisions to be taken.
But the principals of the country's primary schools are urging the political leadership not to target education when it wields the knife over the budget.
Larry Fleming, President of the IPPN, stresses that cutting back on the primary education budget would have disastrous consequences for the future of Ireland. "It is comparable to a farmer selling his seed in times of hunger," he says.
This statement from the best of our national teachers is a serious and timely reminder that we need to get the priorities right this time. And I hope that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is listening to the teachers very carefully.
If the Irish government - after a boundless spending spree in the boom - now imposes severe austerity on everything, including education, we can as well go back to Dev's Ireland and forget that we ever were a modern country for a while.
We should not forget that our investment in education during the 1970s was the seed from which eventually the 'Celtic Tiger' grew during the 1990s. Economic cycles take their time, but only the one who is prepared for events will be able to benefit from them.
Given the fast speed of technological changes in our modern world, investment in education must be increased in a recession, and not decreased.
Only then will we have a chance of getting back to the top in good time.
The Emerald Islander