7.1.5 | Childcare, Education and Life Long Learning Valuing all our children calls for parity of access to services, amenities and opportunities. The NPF forecasts that the number of people aged 15 or under, will continue to increase until the early 2020s and decline only slowly thereafter. The RSES prioritises the provision and enhancement of facilities and amenities for children and young people, such as childcare, schools, playgrounds, parks and sports grounds. Provision of quality affordable childcare places is critical, both developmentally for children and as an effective labour market intervention. Affordability of childcare is a factor, particularly for low income families, and a barrier to employment. 21 The RSES supports investment, as outlined in the NDP, for the sustainable development of childcare services. Optimally, schools need to be located within or close to residential areas and along sustainable transport corridors (walking, cycling, and public transport) to avoid car dependency. This is a key factor in the improvement of independent mobility for Ireland’s children and teenagers, in line with European counterparts 22 . While sustainable access is required for new schools and educational infrastructure, a programme of settlement retrofit is needed to facilitate safe walking, cycling or access to public transport alternatives to existing schools. The NDP has committed to investment for primary and post- primary education services. This will support population growth targets under the RSES. The multi-use of school facilities for wider use by communities and co-location of childcare and school facilities is supported under the RSES, alongside initiatives that achieve appropriate and active re-use of old school buildings and lands. The RSES recognises that long-term unemployment remains the principal cause of the most concentrated forms of multiple disadvantage found in urban areas 23 . Initiatives that address urban and rural unemployment black spots and barriers for unemployed young people in accessing skills, education and training development show a region that works to an inclusive agenda. The role of education in tackling legacies due to deprivation, is a key intervention supported by the RSES. The secondary, further education and third level sectors together with Irish language learning infrastructure are part of the wider education and social resources required to be delivered in the Region. These alongside programmes such as Children and Young People’s Services Committee Plans, assist in the realisation of ambitions and opportunities for our Region’s children and youth.
Further Education Further Education is organised through the Education and Training Boards (ETBs) which oversees the delivery of continuing education and training for young school leavers and adults. It is also considered a lead contact point for citizens to re-engage with learning, and therefore a key sector for supporting lifelong learning. The RSES supports investment in ETB facilities and initiatives. Higher Education The regional proposition is considerably strengthened by the provision of enhanced higher education institutions of UCC, UL, CIT, LIT, MI, IT Tralee, WIT and IT Carlow, all recognised nationally and internationally. Access to high quality higher education locally and regionally enhances the quality of life of all the Region’s citizens and facilitates greater levels of third level enrolment and attainment. By improving access to higher education, this can arrest outward migration and encourage significantly greater numbers of people to study and subsequently work and live in the Region. The RSES explicitly supports the establishment of the Technological University for the South-East (TUSE) and the Munster Technological University (MTU) and other future collaborations between third level institutions to greatly enhance the quality of regional education and enhance the ability of higher education provision to drive regional development. Regional Skills Fora work in tandem with the education and training providers and business to meet the emerging skills needs. The higher education sector plays a critical role in educating an emerging workforce and servicing the market’s need for skills in addition to the sector’s core role in Education and Training.
TUSE and MTU It is an objective to support the further enhancement of higher education provision in the Region through the establishment of two new high-quality universities of international standing, the Technological University for the South-East (TUSE), including development of the Wexford Campus, and the Munster Technological University (MTU) and other future collaborations between third level institutions.
21. Indecon International Economic Consultants Indecon Report on Support for Childcare for Working Families and Implications for Employment, Prepared for Donegal County Childcare Committee, November 2013 22. O’Keeffe B. and O’Beirne A. (2014) Children’s Independent Mobility on the island of Ireland, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. 23. Haase, T. Pratschke, J. September 2017, the 2016 Pobal HP Deprivation Index for Small Areas (SA)
Southern Regional Assembly | RSES
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