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May 25th 2010

The ‘one size fits all’ instruction and assessment approach in Ireland’s current school system is fundamentally wrong, does not facilitate many young people to grow or demonstrate and realize their full range of talents and skills and is a major contributory factor in early school leaving, particularly among boys, according to a new report by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Science.

We work on many areas in education but for 2010 the two main issues we are focusing on are:

* Early School Leaving and Educational Disadvantage

* Part-time Fees

2.1 – Early School Leaving & Educational Disadvantage

What do we want to achieve?

Tackle educational disadvantage and do more to reduce early school leaving


Early school leaving and educational disadvantage is a major issue in Ireland.

  • Our level of early school leaving remains high with over 1,000 young people failing to progress to secondary school
  • 1 in 6 young people leave school before getting a Leaving Certificate.
  • All evidence suggests that young people who leave school early without a qualification are more likely to suffer unemployment in later life and will be paid less.


School absenteeism is an early warning sign that a young person may be at risk of leaving school early.

The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) has been established to support children, young people and parents to provide supports to keep young people in school. It is essential that sufficient resources are provided to the NEWB and other educational programmes to ensure progress is made to combat early school leaving, increase the number of young people successfully completing second level education and keep young people in education and training.

2.2 - Part Time Fees

What do we want to achieve?

Support people in vulnerable employment to upskill, particularly those with no third level qualifications and whose income is below the average industrial wage.


Ireland needs to improve, promote and resource a range of education and training opportunities for young people with poor or redundant qualifications and skills. Such measures include:

  • Second chance learning opportunities.
  • The provision and promotion of up-skilling and re-skilling opportunities for young workers vulnerable to redundancy and unemployment.

The existence of part-time fees is a significant obstacle for many young people wanting to return to study part-time. The abolition or reduction of the fees would be a long term worthwhile investment by the State.


We want the Government to honour its commitment in “Towards 2016” and in the current Programme for Government to establish a €20 million scheme for free fees for approved part-time courses for employees attending public institutions who have never undertaken third level education before and who earn less than the average industrial wage.


Despite constant pressure this commitment has not be honoured and in the 2009 Budget a range of grants were abolished and top-up supports were withdrawn to schools not designated as disadvantaged. In addition, school supports such as English Language teaching for immigrant pupils were also cut.

What can I do?

As an organisation: Lobby government to provide required funding for a national education welfare service and the abolishment of part-time fees.

As an individual: Support us by engaging in debate with your local TD on the importance of these issues.


Pre-Budget Submission 2010

Towards 2016

Education Policy

Equality of Access to education and lifelong/lifewide learning are integral to the creation of an education system that is equitable and fully inclusive. The development of an education system which is attainable to all throughout the lifecycle is vitally important in addressing poverty and social exclusion and breaking the intergenerational cycle of educational disadvantage.

This report was ratified by NYCI’s board at the 2007 AGM.