Sunday 19 November 2017

Quinn needs to get answers

According to its website, the functions of the Department of Education include the "key elements of policy planning, quality assurance, resourcing, regulation and evaluation". It would seem obvious that, to carry out these key functions, the department would need comprehensive information from the schools. In the case of maths teachers at least, this does not appear to be the case.

That is particularly unfortunate. In this year's Leaving Cert, only 10,000 students took maths at higher level and 10pc of those sitting the ordinary paper failed. There is a widespread belief that around half of those teaching maths have no qualification to do so. This newspaper had considerable difficulty finding out if this is so, and now we have the reason. The department does not know.

Of all subjects, perhaps maths depends most on good teaching. And good teaching requires mastery of the subject. No doubt there are good unqualified maths teachers in our schools, and bad qualified ones, but it is quite unacceptable if a large percentage do lack qualifications.

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