Aoife Lynch a pupil at Ballyshannon, discusses Budget 2018 with classmates. Picture: John Ohle
No kites were flown over Ballyshannon National School in Co. Kildare as pupils discussed their priorities for Budget 2018.
Ahead of Paschal Donohoe’s first budget, the Kildare pupils were given the opportunity to set out their own budget and decided how they would like the government’s money to be spent.
"The Children’s Budget" was conducted as part of Maths Week Ireland which is the biggest festival of its kind in the world.
The children also took to the national airwaves in an extended broadcast aired on the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk FM, recorded at the school by the station’s popular roving reporter Henry McKean.
Boys and girls aged 11-12 participated in a workshop where they balanced the ‘Children’s Budget’, using their maths skills.
The goal was to fairly and wisely distribute a nominal €100 budget among areas of concern nominated by the children in a prior discussion among themselves and guided by their teacher, Sinead Harrold.
They broke into six groups for discussions, allocated their budgets and a collective budget was then decided by the class using maths to create an average from the six groups.
The children chose these categories and allocated their budget in the following percentages: Health (22%) – taking care of people who are sick/have had an accident; Social Welfare (8%) – Helping people who can’t work for any reason or who are older and need to be cared for; Housing (31%) – Providing houses for people to live in / rent and also to help families who don’t have a home; Sport & Leisure (5%) – Sports grounds, gyms, playgrounds; Education (8%) – Providing schools for children and our community; Energy (10%) – Light and heat for our homes, power for factories and shops, in a way that also protects our environment Infrastructure; Infrastructure (8%) – Roads, buses and rail; Defence (8%) – Money for the Garda and the Army.
Eoin Gill, Maths Week Ireland Co-Ordinator said: “Maths skills are central to everyday life. Teaching children how to budget will stand them in good stead to become responsible, fiscally savvy adults.
“Young people are very aware of prevailing social issues and really engaged with this exercise. They understood that the Government’s job is to make sure services are provided and all these things cost money.
“This exercise allowed the class the opportunity to explore the workings of government in deciding what the priorities for spending should be and how those decisions should be made. They showed great social conscience and sensitivity in their discussions, and also used their maths skills in this real-life scenario. I feel the future will be in good hands with socially conscious mathematically literate young people.”
Eoin Gill, Co-ordinator of Maths Week Ireland, discusses Budget 2018 with pupils at Ballyshannon NS
Teacher Sinead Harrold discusses Budget 2018 with her pupils