A recent consultation paper by the Department of Education has asked whether more government funding could be invested in the sector, the Irish Times can reveal.
The department has also asked the education sector for suggestions on what should be done to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools.
The paper by its deputy chief executive, James O’Connell, and assistant secretary for policy, Simon O’Connor, has attracted much attention.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has said the department does not support an increase in government funding.
It said it is a matter for the Irish Government and the Department for Education to determine.
However, it has also acknowledged that the department has not always been as active in its engagement with the education sectors.
The minister responsible for the sector was also asked to make some comments in the consultation paper.
In an email to the Irish Independent, the minister responsible, Michael Creedon, said that in his view, “the current level of government investment in education is inadequate”.
Mr Creedon said he was looking forward to discussing with the Department that the issues raised in the paper.
He added that “the Department of Justice is currently working on a review of education funding”.
The paper has also been met with criticism by some education sector organisations.
In a letter to the Department earlier this year, the Association of Students’ Associations of Ireland said that “there is no evidence that the government should consider the possibility of a Government-funded programme for the provision of additional educational opportunities in the future”.
The group said that if it were to see any such initiative, it should be brought forward to the Government in the context of a long-term, strategic and comprehensive strategy for the future of education.
The group also called for the Department to include “the full range of independent and academic research into education and training, including for children, and the potential for a wider variety of educational experiences, including more interactive and interactive learning”.
The association said it wanted “the most effective, integrated, cost-effective and timely investment in the education of future generations”.