The announcement that the primary-secondary school transfer tests will proceed in the autumn is a source of anxiety for parents and pupils alike. School closures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have meant that the same level of preparation and teaching resources will not be available to those pupils scheduled to sit the tests. This is obviously a serious cause for concern, as the selection of secondary education is a major life event for young people.
Jobs & Education
The raising of tuition fees would be a direct attack on access to higher education, especially for working-class students. It is part and parcel of a broader strategy of “marketisation” in education. Westminster is committed to de-regulating the higher education sector in favour of private companies, creating what it calls a ‘level playing field’ for profit-making companies. Stormont has not stood in the way and has facilitated this approach at every stage.
The trade union movement must connect itself to the aspirations and demands of this section of young and precarious workers. This means fighting on more than just the immediate “bread and butter” issues. Unite Hospitality in Belfast, which Socialist Party members are central to, has spearheaded the way forward
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Britain has called for the introduction of a four-day working week. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady compared this demand to previous milestone achievements such as the eight-hour day achieved in the 19th century and the two-day weekend won in the 20th century. Unfortunately, no specific time frame has been targeted other than… this century!