Wednesday 29 January 2020

Private schools must self-finance

MARK Lonergan (Irish Independent, April 29th) takes private schooling to task in most strident terms.

No doubt Mr Lonergan echoes a sentiment which would be favoured by some; however, I support the principle of parental choice and educational pluralism.

As one who wholly endorses the unfairly maligned state education system, warts and all, I cannot subscribe to the view, apparently supported by Mr Lonergan, that the mandatory integration of private schools into the public system would benefit society.

It could also be construed from Mr Lonergan's letter that those parents who choose either denominational or private education for their children should be discouraged or even denied this right.

However, when it comes to the state funding of education, those schools that opt to remain outside the free education scheme should not receive equal funding to those schools within the state system as happens at present.

The current state subvention to private boarding schools is in excess of €100m per annum. Just like fee-paying private hospitals that are profitable businesses, private fee-paying boarding schools must be self-financing.

Why should taxpayers, the vast majority of whom could never aspire to such a privileged education, be expected to subsidise exclusive boarding schools for privileged minorities?

Tom Cooper

Dublin 16

Irish Independent

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