James Downey: Our very survival depends on an education revolution
CAREFUL what you wish for! Ruairi Quinn longed for the job of Education Minister. Now he has it. And now he has begun to learn the gigantic size of the task ahead of him.
He summed it up on Tuesday: "We have been codding ourselves in Ireland in saying to ourselves that we have one of the best education systems in the world. The reality is we don't."
Not that this came as news to him, or to anyone else who has kept in touch with the question. The figures are scary. Since the year 2000, we have slipped from fifth to 17th among OECD countries in the ratings for reading skills, and from 16th to 26th in mathematics. In second-level schools, almost half of our maths teachers are not qualified in the subject.