Monday 5 December 2016

A disaster in design and delivery

Ruairi Quinn's war on our rotten education system must start with facing down teachers, writes Emer O'Kelly

Published 21/08/2011 | 05:00

In the Nineties, I wrote a horrified article about figures from the OECD which put the adult illiteracy rate here at 23 per cent. The figures were discreetly ignored or denied outright by those with a vested interest in the "educational status quo". And until this Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, took office, official Ireland continued to deny the reality of such a rotten, inadequate education system. Idiotic terms like "the best educated young people in Europe" were and are preferred to the reality of international statistics, which are backed up by employer opinions on the international market.

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But I'm mad as hell after reading the mathematics figures from last week's Leaving Cert results and the fallout from what is blindingly obvious within them. Mathematical incompetence to a level of basic innumeracy has been increasing exponentially over the years during which we have been ignoring the illiteracy statistics, and we now have double incompetence.

But at least we now have a minister for education who is prepared to talk about the unpleasant realities that will be required to drag us up to an adequate standard of second and third level education. This is particularly required at second level, since both Trinity and UCD do at least feature in the list of the top 200 universities in the world. (DCU is somewhere around 350th.)

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