Educate Together notes today’s newspaper reports on the Minister for Education Richard Bruton’s plans for advancing the divestment process and welcomes any practical and effective steps taken to address the human rights deficit in the Irish education system.
However, Educate Together would like to state that it has not been asked by the Department of Education to have any input into the formulation of the process announced this morning. As such, Educate Together is keen is to examine the proposals in detail.
Commenting on the announcement, Educate Together CEO Paul Rowe stated:
'Educate Together is concerned that the new process suggests that a candidate body has been charged with running the selection process and there appears to be no robust process whereby the wishes of parents define the choice of school. The wishes of parents must be central to any new approach to addressing the need for change - their wishes cannot be ignored or sidelined.’
Educate Together is disappointed that the Minister for Education has decided to announce such a process without proper discussion with the main providers of multi-denominational and non denominational education and appears to be adopting an approach that allows the State provider - the ETBs - and the Catholic Church disproportionate influence over the process and any changes that it recommends.
Educate Together calls on the Minister to provide real and concrete support to its efforts to meet the demands of thousands of parents who wish their children to secure places in an equality-based Educate Together school.
In this regard, we call on him to facilitate Educate Together opening schools in the 16 remaining areas already allocated for Educate Together schools in the 2012/13 survey process and to enter into discussions to implement a national survey of all parents of pre-school children to ascertain the true level of parental preferences in all parts of the country.