Life Learning

Friday 23 August 2019

Points race neither useful nor fair, says outspoken academic

John Walshe Education Editor

A FORMER university president has hit out at the points system saying it is neither "fair nor functionally useful".

Outspoken ex-DCU president Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski also claimed the Leaving Certificate and its curriculum had been distorted by the perceived demands of the points system.

He said it pushed students into subjects they felt would maximise their points and not those for which they had any real talent or for which there was a strong national need.

Prof von Prondzynski also claimed the points system encouraged students to use learning methods that were inappropriate both as a preparation for college and for developing useful life or professional skills.

Writing in his blog, Prof von Prondzynski said most educationalists tended to agree the points system was not ideal, but there was no consensus as to what might replace it, and therefore nothing much happenned. "Politicians in particular seem to find it easier not to question it," he said.

Education Minister Mary Coughlan defended the system last week, insisting it was fair. But the former DCU head argued: "As so much of the educational edifice has been built around it, it is easier to let it be. Easier, but wrong.

"Like everyone else, the universities seem to be paralysed by the whole thing and are unwilling to act. But the time to do so is now," he added.

Irish Independent

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