Minister of Education, Richard Bruton, is facing the decision to change how third level education is funded and also growing pressure to introduce new schools into areas where there have been baby booms. With a growing level of people now in education, an increase of 17% in a decade, there is growing pressure on the various levels of education.
Who believes in education investment?
On average, Irish people want €111 million invested in education - to reduce class sizes or improve facilities in college - but when we look across life stages, difference of opinion occurs.
Households with children in secondary school or students in college are most likely to want investment in education. This would suggest the cost of education is higher at this level. College goers would like to see 9% more than the average invested in education, while households where adult children have fled the nest (empty nesters) want 29% less than the average.
This is further evidence that priorities change for people when and if they are impacted by the outcome of cuts or education. Our future economy will be built on a highly educated workforce, which in theory should drive greater productivity and higher tax returns.
Education is third on people's investment priority, but varies for people based on whether it impacts on their lives or not. The general tax payer is covering this cost, but as students graduate to mid-high income level jobs, should they be paying more for the next generation in education?