The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has described the 5% increase in capitation or day-to-day funding for schools announced as part of Budget 2019 as "a pittance".
In the Dáil, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced a 6.7% increase in the education budget for next year. He said there will be an increase in the standard capitation rate per pupil by 5%.
However, the INTO said that the increase will have "no noticeable impact on the funding crisis in schools".
The 5% increase, from September 2019, will bring schools back to the level of funding they were receiving in 2007/2008.
Since 2010 capitation has been cut by 15%, from €200 per child a year at primary level to €170.
This 5% increase is the equivalent of €8.50 per pupil a year for schools.
The measure announced today will cost an additional €10m in a full year, out of a total education budget of €10.8bn annually.
When asked why capitation was not increased by more, Minister for Education Richard Bruton said there were many competing demands and that the Government had to "cut our cloth to the available resources".
There will also be an additional €57m in day-to-day funding for third level institutions.
The Irish Universities Association has said the extra funding "on top of existing commitments on national pay increases" would "only allow the system to tread water".
It said the promise of a Human Capital Initiative Fund in two years’ time did nothing to address the current funding shortfall.
It said State funding per third level student in Ireland, at €5,000, was "a fraction of that in Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland", countries with whom we were in competition for investment.
However, Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor said she believed the €57m increase was "really significant".
She described the Human Capital Initiative as "a huge, new investment".
The other main features of this year’s education budget are:
- An additional 1,300 teacher and Special Needs Assistant posts to meet demographic demand.
- An additional €196m in capital funding to create an additional 18,000 school places.
- The creation of a four year €300m ‘Human Capital Fund’ at third level to "meet priority skills needs" and "respond to the challenges of Brexit".
The president of second level teachers' union the ASTI, Breda Lynch, said that Budget 2019 did little to reverse swinging cuts implemented during the recession.
Ms Lynch said that at a time of growing student numbers, curriculum change in schools, and significantly-increased teacher workload, "our second-level schools will continue to have a lower ratio of teachers to students, and less capitation funding, than they did in 2009".
The General Secretary of third level trade union the Irish Federation of University Teachers, Joan Donegan, said that clarification was needed as to the specific amount allocated for universities.
However, she said it appeared to fall short "yet again, of the resources highlighted as necessary in the specially commissioned 2016 Cassells Report".
She described as "staggering" the government decision to set aside money for a 'rainy day' fund while Higher Education was "drowning in underfunding right now".
The Technological Higher Education Association, which represents the Institutes of Technology, welcomed "the aspirations announced today for the higher education sector, in particular the focus on innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education teaching and learning".
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has said the Budget "fails to deliver on the need for significant investment in third-level education and to alleviate the huge financial pressures students face across the country."
The union said the Budget was "a missed opportunity to begin to rectify the failure of successive Governments after years of cuts and neglect across Higher and Further Education."
It also criticised what it said was the Budget's failure to include addressing the lack of accommodation for students in measures to address the housing and homelessness crisis.