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Youngsters prove a class act in study of their life concerns

THEY worry about the economy -- just like their parents.

They have too much homework, they don't like the weather much and there aren't enough places where they can hang out with their friends.

But perhaps the biggest surprise contained in a major new survey of young people is they are actually in favour of the education system and think it is the best thing about being a child in Ireland.

'Life as a Child and Young Person in Ireland: Report of a National Consultation', published yesterday by Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald, revealed that the top concern among children and youngsters was the economy and finances.

The best thing about living in Ireland is the education system -- but it is also the thing young people would change most -- citing heavy exam pressure, too much homework and poor facilities in school.

Almost a quarter of children and young people worry about the economy and finances while a sixth said the worst thing about living in Ireland was the weather, while 14pc complained about the education system.


One in 10 said anti-social behaviour and crime was a problem.

The figures were revealed following a national consultation of 66,705 primary and secondary school pupils for the biggest study of its kind ever to be conducted in this country.

Ms Fitzgerald pointed to concerns highlighted amongst youngsters for the need for greater emphasis on science facilities and better use of technology in schools.

"The fact that our tech-savvy young people can identify concerns in this regard should lend a focus to the Government's ongoing efforts to realise the vision for 21st-century schools set out in the Programme for Government," she said.

The report named the best things in Ireland as being: education (21pc), sport (16pc), friends (14pc) and Irish identity (11pc).

Young people and children would change: education (23pc), followed by the economy and finances (17pc), social problems (9pc) and places to go (7pc).

Irish Independent