EIS teaching union to launch manifesto

pupil working in the classroom
Image caption The EIS said it wanted to protect the future of education in Scotland

A Scottish teaching union has announced it will launch its own manifesto ahead of the Holyrood elections in May.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said it needed to ensure that education was at the top of the agenda for all political parties.

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith warned that pupils would suffer most as a result of "damaging cutbacks".

The so-called "Manifesto for Education" will be launched by union officials next month.

The union said it was keen to protect the country's schools, colleges and universities.

Mr Smith said: "With the current financial crisis and the deep cuts to public spending, including reduced investment in education, it is vitally important that we make a stand to let the politicians know that continuing attacks on our education system cannot and will not be tolerated by the Scottish people.

"Education is vital to the future success of the country, and only by continuing to invest in our young people by providing the best educational opportunities can we secure Scotland's future prosperity in an increasingly competitive global economy."

He added: "We will not allow the continuing decimation of Scottish education in order to pay the bill for a publicly funded bail-out of banks that was necessitated by the greed and dubious ethical standards of city traders and financial speculators."

Mr Smith said colleges and universities had seen "very large" cuts to their budgets, with the result that courses and lecturing jobs were under threat.

As well as the manifesto, the union will run a national advertising campaign, together with local and national campaigning across the country.

Mr Smith said: "In our Manifesto for Education and associated campaigning, we will be throwing down the gauntlet to each political party in Scotland and challenging them to make a commitment to deliver the best for Scottish education, and for the pupils and students that it serves.

"In what promises to be a tight election race, it is the party than wins the hearts and minds of teachers, parents and students that will be best placed to form the next government at Holyrood."

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