Recent horrifying revelations by whistle blowers within the Education Authority, which have exposed ongoing and officially coordinated corruption – in what appears to have been an attempt to deny educational opportunities to children with disabilities – have provoked shock and outrage amongst decent thinking people. This shock and disgust is shared by the Irish Republican Socialist Party.
Today we learned how a remarkably high number of special needs children, who had applied to continue education into the later stages of their youth, were instead left waiting at home with little prospect of their aspirations being realised. With anger and disgust we learned how a majority of further education applications submitted on behalf of special needs children had been allowed to sit untouched, apparently unacknowledged and unstamped by administration staff within the EA, under instructions of high ranking staff and with a deliberate view to creating the impression that the authority “would not be able to return them in time” for processing.
The criminal behaviour of high ranking officials within the EA – who via a campaign deception sought to accuse disabled students of delaying their own application for a further education place – has proven that an education system reliant upon funding policies controlled by an austerity obsessed British government, has failed and will continue to fail the learning needs of Irish children and vulnerable working-class children in particular.
Not only have the higher echelons of the Education Authority displayed exceptional cowardice in failing to confront Tory austerity as the root cause of the funding crisis they find themselves in; their approach in targeting for exclusion (while making a saving) children with special needs, has also exposed a world view on their behalf which is nothing short of ‘ableist’, a concept which the EA should be more aware of than most and more keen to eradicated than any.
This is not the first such ‘blunder’ by the Educational Authority, two years ago the EA embarked upon a campaign of forced amalgamation within special needs schools which sought to both downplay the intricacies of special needs across the board and which again relied on a subtle mix of subterfuge and misinformation to make a saving at the expense of vulnerable children and their aspirations.
A modicum of justice will require that heads roll within the Education Authority, over a program of inaction which was clearly designed to thwart the life chances of those who (in a decent society) would be prioritised over all in terms of equality of opportunity.
For now the IRSP calls upon all who claim to be interested in educational development and treating all Irish children equally (regardless of their perceived disabilities) to get behind programmes capable of resisting Britain’s austerity program in Ireland, with a view to eventually creating an all-Ireland education system based upon the needs of children and not the disgusting austerity programmes of the British Tory elite.