INTO Calls for an End to Commercial Exploitation of School Children

January 12, 2010 by  

The INTO has said primary teachers should not support advertising projects by commercial companies which target children or their families through schools. The union made its announcement following the launch of a project promoted by the Irish Independent and sponsored by Bank of Ireland.

“Bank of Ireland is one of the financial institutions that contributed to this country’s economic collapse,” said Ms Ní Chuinneagáin. “It has been bailed out to date with 3.5 billion in state aid so far with more taxpayers money expected to be pumped into it. Just today, it is set to get 11.5 billion of taxpayers money through the NAMA scheme to pay for its reckless lending to developers and speculators.”

“The 1.5 million euro in sponsorship money is effectively taxpayers’ money which is being used to promote the bank through school children,” she said. “Primary teachers should not have any hand act or part in promoting the public rehabilitation of this or any other bank in this manner.”

The INTO said schools needed government investment but objected strongly to it being channelled through Bank of Ireland advertising.

“This must be a new low in trying to target school children for commercial gain,” she said.

“Because of the reckless activities of Irish banks resources to schools have been withdrawn, teacher numbers have been cut back and teachers have seen their salaries cut. It takes some brass neck to expect teachers to co-operate with an advertising scheme. ”

The INTO also said Independent Newspapers was consistent in its support for reductions in public servants pay. “It beggars belief that following this editorial line the company would now expect teachers to collect tokens to promote sales of its newspaper,” said the INTO President.

She also pointed out that the rules of the competition required a 300 pupil school community to purchase more than 10,000 euros worth of newspapers. “This shows clearly that the company is committed to self-enrichment rather than the enrichment of primary schools as the promotional material claims.”

Ms Ní Chuinneagáin said the union would make a public protest against this promotion in the near future if the companies involved did not scrap the scheme.

The INTO has an established policy in relation to the promotion of commercial products through schools (see below). It aims to prevent the exploitation of pupils for commercial ends in schools and particularly urges schools not to support proof of purchase schemes.

The union said it did not oppose all links between businesses and schools. “Many schools could not survive without the support of local businesses that regularly support local fundraising efforts. However, this is done in ways that do not seek to exploit children for financial or commercial gain in schools.”

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