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Policy issues concerning Education

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.

Government policies are further excluding people who are already clinging to the margins of society, according to a new review from Social Justice Ireland. The Review analyses how Ireland is performing with regard to key national targets under the Europe 2020 Strategy.

By 2025 the number of people living in Ireland aged over 85 years will have doubled. One clear implication of this will be additional demand for healthcare services and facilities. This is just one of many examples highlighted in Social Justice Ireland's National Social Monitor 2014 which highlight the need for longer-term planning by Government if Ireland is to promote the common good and ensure the wellbeing of its growing population.

Almost 1 in 5 (18%) of Irish adults aged 16-65 are at or below Level 1 on the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC).  Ireland placed 17th out of 24 participating countries on the literacy test.  Ireland placed 19th out of the 24 participating countries on

A new report by Eurofound shows how Ireland has one of the highest rates of NEETS in Europe at 22%. Greece has the highest at 35.9%, Bulgaria 24.6% AND Spain has 21.1%.  NEETS are young people aged 15 – 29 who are not in education, employment or training. 

The announcement by the Minister for Education and Skills that cuts announced to DEIS schools in Budget 2012 are to be reversed is in line with a recent report from the OECD. Social Justice Ireland welcomes the partial reversal of the measures introduced by Minister Quinn in Budget 2012.

Government should introduce a student loan scheme for 3rd level students in Budget 2012. There are strong arguments from an equity perspective that those who benefit from higher education, and who can afford to contribute to the costs of their higher education, should do so.

The issue of literacy has been contentious in recent times. The Department of Education’s policy for tackling literacy problems among adults is in the opinion of Social Justice Ireland simply unacceptable.

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