Monday, 23rd July 2018
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School Costs

Although we are still just at the start of August many parents will already be figuring out exactly how much they will have to hand over for their children to go back to school. The children's charity Barnardo's have just compiled a report saying that for a primary school child the figure will hit nearly 400 euro while a secondary school child will have to have roughly 750 euro paid out to ensure that they have everything that they need. And of course these figures are just for going back to school and don't figure into account the numbers that will accrue over the entire year as a child grows and needs extra clothes and shoes let along school supplies. If there is one saving grace from the figures that were just released is that there hasn't been a significant increase in the numbers from this time last year. That might be one saving grace but it isn't particularly a great one if you consider the fact that our education system is nominally free. Even that fact is changing considering that now most schools look for 'voluntary' contributions. Of course the way in which these contributions are voluntary may be debatable but if you are a parent who is hard strapped for cash then it is just one more bill that you really could do without. The response to this is that the schools don't particularly want to ask parents for money to go towards the running of schools but find themselves in a position in which they don't have any option but to do so. A part of all of these payments can easily be traced back to the lowering levels of investment in education but not all of it can. The payments 'voluntary' or otherwise that schools look for every year are a direct result of the way in which the Government has underfunded the education sector over the years. This might have been fine in terms of the years of austerity but now that the economy is back on the up there really isn't an excuse that this should be so. Schools shouldn't be put in the position that they should be going to parents cap in hand, particularly to parents who are hard strapped to afford it themselves. Outside of this particular area there is the general question of who should fund an individual child's education, the day to day needs of a child. In an ideal world it would be the state, but

we don't live in that kind of world and we certainly don't live in an economic model that supports that. For better or worse we live in a society which holds the parent responsible for the child and in this particular case that means that the parent has to pay for the child's out of pocket school expenses. This burden falls harder on those who have the least to spare and that is why that this time of year is always so difficult.


Letters to the Editor

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