Echo Opinion: Back-to-school family pressure

IT SPEAKS volumes for our society when it is revealed that over 11,000 families are being helped by the St Vincent de Paul charity.

It speaks louder about our society when, on analysing the figures, it is revealed that the basic cause of the high numbers are the crippling costs to families when they have to send their children to school – in an era of supposedly free education.

managing cost of back to school chalkboard image

Some families, it is understood, deprive themselves of food in order that their children might not go to school without their uniforms or books.

The future of our nation lies in the hearts and minds of these families and particularly the children. We are no longer a nation of emigrants, we have a growing population, as shown in the last census figures.

In this centenary year we have a duty as a nation to educate our children and provide them with the means to improve their lives, raise their own families in their turn, and prove themselves to be stalwart citizens of the Irish Republic.

Education should not be for the chosen few, it should be available for anyone who wants it and is capable of it. There should be no necessity for ‘voluntary’ contributions; the price of uniforms should not be a factor when deciding where to send your child.

The Government, with all their collective responsibility, must not allow this to happen – it should not be the job of a charity organisation to subsidise a shortfall in State expenditure, especially when all are aware of the enormous pensions paid to ex-Ministers and former Presidents, who no longer play an active role in our society.

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