Education is becoming an ‘elitist and unaffordable luxury’ warns Limerick councillor 

Jess Casey

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Jess Casey

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jess.casey@limerickleader.ie

Education is becoming an ‘elitist and unaffordable luxury’ warns Limerick councillor 

Cllr Seighin Ó Ceallaigh

WITH the cost of a second-level education here now estimated at almost €14,000, the education system is “at risk of becoming an elitist and unaffordable luxury”, according to a Limerick City East councillor.

The Zurich Life Assurance ‘Cost of Education 2018’ revealed that putting just one child through school can easily run into tens of thousands of euro, with the cost of completing secondary school estimated at €13,858. 

Zurich also found that completing a third level education costs an additional €22,186.

“From voluntary contributions to school books, parents are paying extortionate prices for the fundamental basics of education,” Sinn Fein’s Cllr Seighin Ó Ceallaigh said. 

“That’s before they have to go on and fork out €3,000 per year just to attend third level education.”

Limerick’s low-income families do not have the same educational opportunities, he added. 

“With a third of secondary school parents being forced to get into debt, it couldn’t be clearer that the Irish education system is at risk of becoming an elitist and unaffordable luxury,” he added. 

While most parents think the annual cost of education for primary school is €584, Zurich found the actual figure they pay is closer to €830 per year. 

Zurich also estimates that the annual cost of education for secondary school works out at €1,495 per year. 

The research also found that  most parents (83%) don’t get a loan to pay their children’s primary school expenses;However, the number of parents that do take out a loan has almost doubled from 9% in 2017, to 17% this year.

Compared to primary education, 28% of parents surveyed by Zurich were more likely to take loans out to pay for their children’s secondary school costs. 

Sinn Féin hopes to see the end of ‘voluntary contributions’ and proposed a €50 increase in its alternative budget to go towards education costs, according to Cllr Ó Ceallaigh. 

“We hope to see the end of parents being forced into paying so-called ‘Voluntary Contributions’, which many parents and children are pressured into paying.”