April 21 In the Press

INTO launches scathing attack at ‘ostrich’ ministers over education system breakdown

By Eleanor McGillie

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has launched a scathing attack on the Northern Ireland Executive urging ministers to stop behaving like ostriches burying their heads in the sand and instead deal with the negative economic impact of dismantling the education system.

Gerry Murphy, INTO’s Northern Secretary, says over the past few weeks there have been cuts made in primary, post primary and further education but the ‘deafening silence’ of the NI executive will heighten looming demands for further industrial action.

INTO members are this week working to rule which means they are only carrying out duties relevant to the education of children while business leaders are joining INTO to highlight the economic damage being caused by cutting teaching and lecturing posts.

Speaking today, Mr Murphy said there’s has never been a more prevalent time for parents and business leaders to join with INTO in raising their voices to secure a sound education system for the next generation.

He said: “Our NI Executive ministers are behaving like ostriches. They are burying their heads in the sand while our education system is systematically being dismantled and the future of every learner is consigned to the bonfire of inaction.

“Over the past few weeks we have seen cuts to primary, post primary and further education. Each pronouncement is accompanied by a string of platitudes from ministers saying they wanted more but we will just have to put up with less.

“INTO and business leaders are consistently highlighting the economic damage that is being done by cutting teaching, lecturing posts and university places but all we get from our ministers is a deafening silence.

The parents of every learner need to ask what is happening to their child’s future. They need to join with INTO in demanding a change of direction that places education at the heart of the economy and invests in those teachers and lecturers who dedicate their lives to the education of children and young adults.

“We are also calling for business leaders to join with us in developing proposals to drive the economy forward on the basis of a long term funded education strategy. The voice of all the stake holders must be raised in unison to demand that it is no longer appropriate to remain silent; to bury your head in the sand or to blame someone else for your misfortune. If the Executive remains silent then we all have a moral responsibility to make them listen.”

Last month, over 1,000 INTO members took to the streets of Northern Ireland to protest about the cuts in the education system and now teachers are working to rule which means members will not do any administration, form filling or data requests.

Mr Murphy added: “Should the Executive still remain silent on our demands, then this industrial action will increase and the NI Executive will rue the decision not to engage when it was possible to make a difference.

“The destruction of the education system and the future of children and young adults is not something we will remain silent about. INTO now demands a response from the ostriches on the hill.”

 

ENDS:

NOTES TO EDITOR:

  • INTO is the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation. It is the largest teachers’ union in Ireland. INTO has a Northern Office and a Southern Office. Our Northern Office is based at Vere Foster House, 23 College Gardens, Belfast. #NIConf2015
  • For interview requests or further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379| Brand Journalism Experts | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK

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