I was listening to the headmaster of Presentation Brothers College in Cork speaking yesterday that private education was an investment in your children, and not spending money on 'expensive holidays and the beer'. I think this was very insulting to parents who opt to send their children to non fee paying schools, and also underlines a certain snobbery that state and non-fee paying schools are populated by a bunch of crackheads and burgeoning axe killers. This is even more distressing, I imagine, to parents who live in the majority of the country where there is no choice for the provision of education other than the local community school or voluntary non fee paying school: after all there are only 8 private schools in Munster. Clearly by that rationale the parents in most of these schools are chronic alcoholics who spend most of the year browning themselves in Torremolinos.
He also described the proposal to reduce the subvention to fee paying schools, particularly for PTR, as 'anti-catholic' and 'anti-middle class'. I'm open to correction, but I was always of the view that just 5% of schools in Catholic management were fee paying, therefore there is plenty of choice in ethos in the system already. Is this comment also not an attack on middle class parents in Cork, and elsewhere, who opt to use the State or non fee paying sector? Obviously, by this rationale, they are a bunch of free wheelers with no interest in their children's future.
In regard to investment in education, wouldn't it be more prudent for parents in Cork to begin saving for their children to go to UCC or beyond, once the inevitable return of fees are fully rolled out (mooted to be completed by 2016). COuld it be that parents are being pressurised by peer and societal pressure into sending their kids to schools with a certain uniform and blazer, and not making adequate provision for their Third Level education? Would society not be fairer if kids were selected for flag ship schools, not on the basis of ability to pay, but rather talent?
What kind of education system do we have that inculcates and reinforces class prejudice. If the headmaster of a leading fee paying school can make astonishing judgments and conclusions about the motivations of parents when selecting a school, can we expect the children in his care to grow into responsible, decent citizens? Or will they grow into self centred reactionaries sneering at the folly of their neighbours free wheeling off a social welfare education and blowing what little money they have panem et circenses