Monday 20 November 2017

David Quinn: Do the maths, Ruairi -- religion isn't to blame

IT's a variation of the old science-versus-religion story. According to the OECD, twice as much time is spent teaching religion in our primary schools compared to other developed countries, and critics are saying more of that time should be spent teaching science instead.

It looks, on the surface, to be a very compelling argument. Traditionally, Irish students don't do so well in science and maths compared with their counterparts in some other countries. So it would appear that answer is to spend more time on very practical, useful subjects like science and maths, and less time on that most 'impractical' of all subjects, religion.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has made similar points in the past. Last year, commenting on figures indicating that literacy and numeracy levels among Irish pupils have fallen, he suggested one answer was to spend less school time preparing children in second class and sixth class for First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

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