Educate Together notes the concluding observations by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child published today. These UN observations point to the pressing need for the establishment of a network of equality-based schools throughout Ireland.
After Ireland’s examination by the Committee in January, Educate Together stressed that the status quo in Irish education is no longer an option. This is an system in which 96 per cent of state-funded schools are controlled by religious bodies, 9 out of 10 families have no choice but to send their children to a religious-run school and state-funded schools can legally discriminate against children on grounds of religion. This system is an aberration on the world stage.
This statement has been confirmed by the Committee today in its recommendation that the State:
- ‘expeditiously undertake concrete measures to significantly increase the availability of non-denominational or multi-denominational schools’.
- ‘amend the existing legislative framework to eliminate discrimination in school admissions.
- and ‘ensure accessible options for children to opt-out of religious classes’.
Educate Together calls on all candidates in the upcoming General Election to take heed of these concerns and reminds them of Educate Together’s plan to embed equality in the education system: the provision of 300 Educate Together primary schools and 30 second-level schools; increased funding for the opening of schools and the introduction of proper supports for children with additional needs. In Educate Together schools there is no time period during which ‘opting out’ is necessary, as children from majority, minority and non-faith backgrounds remain with their classmates during the entire school day.
Evidence of parental demand for Educate Together schools is undeniable: our existing schools and start-up groups are reporting that thousands of children are now being signed up to our already over-subscribed waiting lists throughout Ireland. Our education system can no longer ignore parents’ rights to choose the type of education they want their child to have. Educate Together continues to hope that by Ireland’s next examination in 2021, it will no longer have case to answer regarding equality in education.
More information on Educate Together’s Four Essentials for Equality in Education can be accessed at www.educatetogetherGE16.com