Wednesday 16 October 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'School league tables’ don’t give an accurate reflection'

'It is incumbent upon all those who seek to measure the success of schools to broaden their understanding of education and to ensure that the bigger and more inclusive picture is more accurately reflected' (stock photo)
'It is incumbent upon all those who seek to measure the success of schools to broaden their understanding of education and to ensure that the bigger and more inclusive picture is more accurately reflected' (stock photo)
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

I am very pleased to congratulate so many students across the country who achieved their aim of securing third-level college places this year. Their joy should be shared with parents, guardians and school staff who supported them so well.

As a parent, school principal and educationalist, however, I am very keen to point out that so-called ‘school league tables’ are seriously flawed. These fail to take account of students who may not aspire to go to college but who are very happy to head in a number of other equally worthy directions, for example apprenticeships, post-Leaving Certificate courses, directly into employment, travel or, indeed, study abroad.

Society needs people of many different skills and aptitudes in order to function properly. All school leavers who achieve success, in whatever form or direction, should be celebrated, not just those heading to college in Ireland.

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It is incumbent upon all those who seek to measure the success of schools to broaden their understanding of education and to ensure that the bigger and more inclusive picture is more accurately reflected.

Billy O’Shea

New Ross, Co Wexford

 

Let’s hear it for a song to replace ‘Ireland’s Call’ dirge

‘Ireland's Call’ is a bad Eurovision song deemed not to excite or delight anyone, least of all the players.

Given the way things are at the moment, perhaps it’s time for new competition for a new song.

How’s about letting Northerners have a crack at it?

Once it’s down to say 30 songs, both North and south can vote on the winner.

A clear over-60pc majority has to be had from both.

If there is none, we run it again. Both North and south, until we get something we all like.

The one that wins becomes the new all-Ireland anthem.

Pauline Bleach

Wolli Creek, Australia

 

Removing geography from schools is the wrong road

There has been a lot of focus (and rightfully so) in recent months on calls to reverse the misguided decision to remove history as a core Junior Cert subject and it is good to see Education Minister Joe McHugh has decided to reverse that decision.

However, as president of the Geographical Society of Ireland, I would question the equally misguided decision to remove geography as a core Junior Cert subject, while I would also argue strongly against any moves to limit the level/scope of geography teaching in primary schools as part of a revision of the primary education curriculum.

As it stands, with the status of history now to be restored, the only subject to be effectively demoted in the new Junior Cert curriculum is geography.

At a time of environmental, social, political and economic crisis, that is fundamentally wrong.

Dr Adrian Kavanagh

Maynooth University, Co Kildare

 

Second Brexit referendum needs terms and conditions

Theresa May and many others described the narrow win by the Leave side in 2016 as the “will of the people”.

However, only 37pc of the electorate voted Leave as opposed to the 52pc of voters who participated in the referendum.

The voters who voted Leave did not vote for a chaotic crash-out with catastrophic consequences for the British economy.

Referendums are a true exercise of democracy but they have their faults; in the UK’s case one could argue that they are irrelevant as the UK does not have a proper written constitution.

Even the smart Germans do not have a provision in their written constitution for referendums to settle matters.

Strictly speaking, referendums are only supposed to be used in countries that do not have written constitutions for the purpose of over-riding a parliamentary majority.

Many people in the UK argue that a second referendum is the only solution to resolve the current impasse.

A second referendum should come with the condition that a minimum of 51pc of the actual electorate will have to vote Leave in order for the valid Leave vote to stand; this is a condition that all parties could agree on and then politicians would know the true will of the people.

Kieran O’Regan

Dublin 9

 

Johnson’s government reveals its true feelings for Ireland

Unfortunately, the British government’s non-paper proposals on the Border truly shows their attitude toward the Irish people.

Aidan Hampson

Artane, Dublin 5

Irish Independent

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