More money needed for education as numbers rise
The education system has suffered big cuts in recent years.
The effects can be seen all the way through from primary schools to third-level colleges, and, whether aged four or 24, no student has escaped the impact.
The list of cuts is long and wide-ranging and includes overcrowded classrooms for young children, gaps in career guidance support for teenagers and, at third-level, a lack of necessary investment in buildings, including their maintenance.
It is difficult to say that one area has suffered more than others, or is more deserving of being treated as a priority in the share-out of available funds.
The reality is that the education system is underfunded and policy priorities in recent years have been based on an unsustainable, 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' approach: pulling a few million here to plug a hole there.
At a time when more and more students are entering primary, second-level and third-level schools and colleges, it is unconscionable that the education budget has been eroded.
There is a lot of talk about the end of austerity and the financial flexibility available to the Government in the forthcoming Budget. Surely, it is time to restore badly needed funding to educating the nation's children.