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News Release 11 Feb 2011

EIS launches election manifesto - protecting Education top priority

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has today launched its Manifesto for Education ahead of May’s Scottish Parliamentary elections. 

The EIS believes Education should be the top priority for Scotland’s political parties, and is calling for all parties to give firm commitments on how they will protect education at a time of economic constraint.

Commenting on the publication of the EIS Manifesto, General Secretary Ronnie Smith said, "The EIS is launching the Manifesto for Education to ensure that education is the top issue for debate in the Scottish Parliamentary elections and the top priority for each of the political parties.
"These are challenging times for education, as our schools, colleges and universities face unprecedented levels of cuts which threaten the quality of education of every pupil and student across Scotland. 

"We are issuing a challenge to every prospective MSP and every political party to state clearly how they will protect, support and fund the high quality education system that the people of Scotland have the right to expect.”

Mr Smith added, "Scottish education has already been dealing with deep cuts over the past few years, with funding and resources cut to the bone.  Scotland’s schools have lost over 3,000 teachers during the current Parliament which inevitably leads to larger class sizes and a narrower choice of subjects for pupils. 

"Thousands of newly qualified and recently qualified teachers have been left on the scrapheap by cuts in teacher numbers, at the very time when we need new blood in the classroom to bring down class sizes and support the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence. 

"Scotland’s schools, its pupils and teachers deserve better, yet they face a future of even deeper cuts when there is clearly nothing left to trim.”

He continued, "In further and higher education too, we have already seen waves of cuts and staff redundancies at some colleges and universities. 
"The further and higher education sectors will be hit particularly hard in the imminent round of budget cuts, yet these sectors are absolutely vital in producing the highly skilled and adaptable workers who can help the country to grow its way out of the economic downturn. 

"Without continuing investment in tertiary education, our country will fall further and further behind other countries around the world which have the foresight to continue to invest in their education systems. 

"Education is not a cost to society, it is an investment for society and one that provides huge returns for every pound that is invested.”

Mr Smith went on to say, "The EIS Manifesto sets out each of our priorities for the future success of Scottish education.  We are urging all teachers and lecturers, together with students and parents, to raise education issues with all prospective MSPs at every opportunity. 

"Education will be one of the key battlegrounds in the Holyrood election campaign, and it will be the candidates and the parties who can assure the teachers, lecturers, parents and students of Scotland that they can deliver on education that will be best placed to win this election. 

"The EIS is calling for clear, firm and binding commitments from each of the political parties – education is far too important to be a side-issue in this election campaign.”

Mr Smith added, "Every school, college and university will receive copies of the Manifesto for Education so that teachers and lecturers will be well informed of the priorities that should be pursued with all candidates. 

"Every political party and every incumbent MSP will also be sent copies of our Manifesto, so there can be no doubt as to the important education issues that must be addressed during the campaign and throughout the term of the next Parliament. 

"This election is hugely important for the future of Scottish education, and it is essential that every teacher, lecturer, parent and student plays their part in speaking up for education and challenging every political party to deliver the best for the future of our education system.”

For more information, please contact:
Brian Cooper (Media & Communications), Tel 0131 225 6244