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Policy issues concerning Education

A new study released today by the CSO reminds us that despite our improved economic performance, one in six Irish people are still living in poverty.

ILD 2017

International Literacy Day (8 September) will be celebrated across the world under the theme of ‘Literacy in a digital world’. The overall aim to look at what kind of literacy skills people need to navigate increasingly digitally-mediated societies, and to explore effective literacy policies and programmes that can leverage the opportunities that the digital world provides.  Literacy in a digital world is a key target in Sustainable Development Goal 4. 

The current approach to housing policy in Ireland is not working; the private sector will never build social housing units on the scale required.  Government must commit to building sufficient social housing units to eliminate the current housing waiting list.  This is the only way to address Ireland’s ongoing housing and homelessness crisis.  This is a key finding of Social Justice Ireland's National Social Monitor 2017.

Ireland is not making progress towards meeting some of its Europe 2020 Targets.  This is one of the main findings of Social Justice Ireland's  latest report, Ireland and the Europe 2020 Strategy.  The report finds that Ireland needs to make greater efforts to meet the Europe 2020 targets on employment and reducing poverty and social exclusion.

Social Justice Ireland was invited to present our analysis of Budget 2017 and recommendations for Budget 2018 to the Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight.  We were also invited by the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills to discuss the Expert Group Report 'Investing in National Ambition: A Strategy for Funding Higher Education'.  Our opening statemements to both committees are available to download below.

A brief snapshot on how Ireland is performing in terms of education and lifelong learning and some policy proposals.

Substantial investment is required to ensure that everyone can access relevant education throughout their lives.  This requires further funding at all levels, and in particular Early Childhood Care and Education, adult literacy and Lifelong Learning.

The European Commission this week published the 2015 EU Youth Report. With regard to Ireland, the report reveals that Ireland recorded the highest fall in percentage points in its youth population since 2010 (-4 pp.). Ireland also recorded one of the largest proportions of young citizens leaving the country to settle in another EU Member State, although this trend is declining.

We are focussing far too much on the performance of the economy and not nearly enough on issues such as aging, social housing and sustainability, that have major implications for the wellbeing of individuals and society as a whole according to the National Social Monitor 2015 published by Social Justice Ireland.  It goes on to argue that a balance is required between the various aspects of life if the wellbeing of this and future generations is to be secured.

Education allows people to live a full life and it can be an agent for social transformation.  Education is one of the key policy areas that must be addressed urgently as part of Social Justice Ireland’s Policy Framework for a Just Ireland. A full analysis of the challenges in Education and our policy proposals are contained in our Socio-Economic Review 2015 ‘Towards a Just Society’.  The chapter is available below.

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