National Social Monitor - European Edition, Spring 2020
The European Union faces many challenges in relation to healthcare, cost of housing and financial distress that will be further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is one of the key findings from the National Social Monitor – European Edition. In this Spring 2020 edition of our National Social Monitor, Social Justice Ireland outlines the present situation on a range of policy issues, comparative to the rest of Europe, that impact on people’s wellbeing and looks at what policies can be introduced to support the most vulnerable.
The impact of Early School Leaving
Ireland has the fourth lowest early school leaving rate in the European Union at five per cent and we are ranked second in the European Union for the percentage of people aged 20-24 with at least upper-second level education at 94 per cent. This downward trend of early school leaving is a welcome development. Despite the progress made on early school leaving the poor labour market status of early school leavers points to the need for a continued focus on this cohort and on addressing educational disadvantage.
Seven Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Social Justice Ireland believes strongly in the importance of developing a rights-based approach to social, economic, environmental, and cultural policy. Such an approach would go a long way towards addressing the inequality Ireland has been experiencing and should be at the heart of the development model for a just society. We believe that the next Programme for Government should acknowledge and recognise seven economic, social and cultural rights.
The importance of public investment in early years
Early childhood is the stage where education can most effectively influence the development of children and help reverse disadvantage. The most striking feature of investment in education in Ireland relative to other OECD countries is its under-investment in early childhood education. High quality educational experiences in early childhood contribute significantly to life-long learning success. This sector needs to be supported by Government, financially and through policy, to ensure that all children have equal access to this success and all of the benefits of quality education.
A framework for the next Programme for Government
The Government of the 33rd Dáil won’t be able to solve all Ireland's challenges in just five years, but making the right choices can go a long way to delivering a fairer society with a better standard of living for everyone. This is why the next Programme for Government must deliver on five key areas: a vibrant economy, decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability.
Well-being in the Digital Age
Digital technology can improve our lives but it also poses a major risk of widening social inequality particularly for people without the skills to navigate digital platforms. As we move towards a future where digital transformation will disrupt the labour market, having the greatest impact on people with lower levels of education and skills, it is important that this cohort are not left behind.
Election 2020 - Education
Family poverty remains one of the largest determinants of educational outcomes in Ireland. The benefits of investing in education, to the individual, to the economy and to society, far outweigh any initial outlay of resources. Read Social Justice Ireland's Election Briefing on Education for an outline of a number of key challenges and some policy proposals that should be in the next Programme for Government.
Educational outcomes for students who finished second level in 2017
A recent publication from the Central Statistics Office, Post-Primary Outcomes – Academic Years Ending 2012 & 2013, analyses outcomes in 2012 – 2017 for two post-primary academic cohorts; 2011/2012 and 2012/2013. It examines outcomes in terms of education and training, substantial employment, and earnings over time.