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Zero sum

•Education Minister Ruairi Quinn should stop agonising over the exact university qualifications of our maths teachers and ask, instead, just why national schools have stopped teaching the multiplication table, and exactly who made the decision to drop it.I know of gifted and motivated pupils who are being held back at Junior Cert maths (higher) because they are struggling with their 'times tables'.

At this point of their lives, these facts should be ingrained. A certain number should jump out at them.

They were told at national school that they had a tables book instead. But this is teaching young children to walk with a crutch instead of on their own two legs.

Why would we do this? National school teachers; why not go back to spending that 10 minutes each morning that we all knew?

Ruairi Quinn, here is something concrete you can do immediately. Attack the problem at the root, instead of trying to blame the maths teachers.

Micheal O Fearghail
Glanmire, Co Cork

Irish Independent