Saturday 18 November 2017

Pupils: more time on religion, less on PE, science

Some 10pc of tuition time in Irish schools is spent on religion, ethics and moral education, twice the OECD average of 5pc and also well ahead of the EU average of 4pc. Stock Image
Some 10pc of tuition time in Irish schools is spent on religion, ethics and moral education, twice the OECD average of 5pc and also well ahead of the EU average of 4pc. Stock Image

The relatively high amount of time devoted to religion in Irish primary schools, compared with science and PE, is highlighted in the report.

Some 10pc of tuition time in Irish schools is spent on religion, ethics and moral education, twice the OECD average of 5pc and also well ahead of the EU average of 4pc. By contrast, Irish pupils spend 4pc of their class time on science, compared with 7pc in primary schools in the OECD and the EU.

And while, internationally, primary pupils spend 9pc of their time on PE - 10pc across the EU - in Ireland, it is 4pc.

The whole issue of the time allocation for subjects in the primary curriculum is currently being considered by Government education advisors, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

The NCCA has conducted a public consultation process on the matter and will issue a report in the next few months.

In terms of overall instruction time, Irish primary pupils receive 910 hours per year, third highest of 33 countries, while at junior cycle, Ireland's 918 hours tuition is 13th highest of 33.

At second level, Ireland stands out for the amount of time it devotes to social studies, such as Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) for junior cycle students, accounting for 17pc of the timetable, well ahead of the OECD average of 10pc.

Among the other findings of the OECD report is that primary teacher salaries in Ireland, after 15 years experience, are the sixth highest of 30 countries while second-level teachers rank 7th-8th, although the figures are based on pre-austerity era pay scales.

Irish Independent

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