Education crisis puts us all to test
ALL government is about priorities, and next to the economic crisis the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition can have no greater priority than the education system. Our future as a society, not just as an economy, depends on nurturing the next generation, and generations to come, of well-educated and highly skilled young people.
But the problems that face Education Minister Ruairi Quinn are as daunting as any yet encountered by his colleagues Michael Noonan, in handling the shattered public finances; and Brendan Howlin, in containing expenditure and reforming the bureaucracy.
An international report has found that almost a quarter of Irish 15-year-old boys are illiterate. Class sizes have risen while the number of special needs teachers has declined. Large numbers of school buildings are in need of repair.