why must our children pay? campaign launched in defence of Scottish education
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) is launching a major campaign for 2010 to promote the cause of Scottish education and protect the funding of schools and colleges. The focus of the campaign is "Why must our children pay?” and will argue that Scotland's pupils and students should not be forced to pay for the mistakes of others by having their education damaged due to budget cutting. A key event in the campaign is a major demonstration to be held in Glasgow in March 2010.
Outlining the campaign this morning, EIS General Secretary Ronnie Smith said, "The ‘Why must our children pay?' campaign has been launched to promote Scottish education and to ensure that our young people do not see their education suffer as a result of mistakes made by others. The bleak financial position that the country currently finds itself in was not caused by our schools or colleges or by our young people. We want to send a strong message to government at every level that our children and young people must not be forced to pay the price for the cavalier behaviour of others that led to this recession.”
Mr Smith added, "It is absolutely vital the front-line public services, in particular education, are protected during these difficult economic times. It is in times like these that we need to encourage more young people to stay longer in education and training. That is because there are so few jobs available in a very weak jobs market, but also because the new jobs – when they come – will demand higher level skills and qualifications. It is the countries which invest in education and training that will reap the harvest and successfully make the transition to new worlds of work and economic prosperity. Education is an investment in the future of our country, and the government must ensure that our education system is properly supported and adequately resourced in the difficult years ahead."
Mr Smith added, "The threat to education funding is very real. Already, over the past year, we have seen very significant cuts in education budgets and classroom resources right across the country. We now have almost 2,500 fewer teachers in our classrooms than was the case just two years ago. This is forcing schools to place pupils in larger classes, with less teaching time for each pupil as a result. Support staff numbers are also falling, removing a vital layer of support for teachers and placing an even greater administrative burden on teachers which then has a negative impact on teaching, preparation and correction time. Even basic classroom resources such as books, paper, pencils and photocopying of worksheets are becoming increasingly scarce. All of this at a time when Scotland is undergoing a significant programme of curricular change through the Curriculum for Excellence. But, without proper funding, resources and support for schools, progress on the Curriculum for Excellence will be put at risk.”
Moving on to the first stage of the campaign, Mr Smith said, "Scotland's teachers and lecturers will take to the streets of Glasgow in March as the first step in a sustained campaign to promote Scottish education and to ensure that our young people receive the best opportunity to reach their potential. We hope that others – especially parents, students and other education workers - will join us in this campaign to defend our schools and colleges and all that they can offer to young people and our country as a whole. The stakes are high - education is the foundation of everything that our young people and our country will achieve in the future. We hope that everyone will agree that investing in our children and young people is the best investment we can make, and we urge everyone with an interest in Scottish education to get behind the 'Why must our children pay?' campaign to ensure that our young people continue to receive the high-quality educational experience that they deserve."
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