Monday, 17 September 2012

Maths and technical subjects lose out to Irish and religion in our schools

An interesting article appeared in last Wednesday's "Journal", see extract here:

Irish pupils taught over twice as much religion as OECD average

THE AVERAGE IRISH primary school pupil spends a tenth of their time in religious tuition – over twice the average of other developed countries, a new worldwide study has claimed.
The OECD’s ‘Education at a Glance’ report says the average 7 or 8 year old in Ireland spends 10 per cent of their time in primary tuition being taught religion, while the average among the countries surveyed is 4 per cent, and the average among EU countries is 5 per cent.
The report says Irish pupils – assuming they are taught the correct number of hours demanded by the Irish primary curriculum – spend only 12 per cent of their time learning maths.
The average among developed countries is 18 per cent – with the difference in maths tuition accounted exactly for the amount of time spent on religion.
The major report, surveying conditions in 30 of the world’s developed countries, shows that Irish students also spend less time studying technology and practical subjects than their worldwide peers – and less than half of what the average student in another country might spend on Physical Education.
This is reflected in the extra time spent on ‘modern foreign languages’ – which in Ireland’s case includes the teaching of the Irish language...

The Irish answer to the problem, however, is to distort results with bonus points for maths rather than addressing the poor standards of teaching - many maths teachers are not even properly qualified.

Then there the years of teaching time wasted on nonsense subjects such as religion and Gaeilge.  It is no wonder we are producing, yet again, a generation of half-wits whose educational attainments are largely irrelevant to to the needs of the modern world, and even the requirements of Ireland's main private sector employers, as the following report from the Indo (August 16th) contends. 

It seems the time spent teaching "modern foreign languages" firmly places the emphasis on Dev's First Official Language rather than modern, living ones..

Fears over skills shortages in key science and language subjects

By Katherine Donnelly
Thursday August 16 2012
STUDENTS may have scored record success in higher-level maths this year -- but now there are worries of possible skills shortgages because of a poor uptake in science subjects and languages at second-level schools.
And the situation is expected to get even worse from this year as teacher cuts force schools to consider dropping these key subjects.
As the boost to maths performance among this year's Leaving Certificate candidates was celebrated yesterday, the new concerns were highlighted.
The 56,000 school-leavers receiving results yesterday included almost 11,000 awarded 25 bonus points for achieving a minimum D grade in maths at higher level...

...Subjects such as physics and chemistry are also taking on a new importance, with growing demand from employers for graduates with such skills.
And languages are in unprecedented demand among multinational and domestic export companies operating in a global economy.
There has been an ongoing slide in the number of Leaving Certificate students taking physics.
Numbers fell a further 2pc this year to 6,373 -- less than one in eight candidates -- while almost a quarter of schools don't offer it at all...

Back to Gombeen Nation main page


Dakota said...

"It is no wonder we are producing, yet again, a generation of half-wits." GM there is one thing the Irish educational system does superbly well and that is produce UNQUESTIONING UNITS FOR EXPORT. Practically and intellectually obtuse ones at that.

Maybe some Fountain of Irish Luminosity may eventually propose, extra points for the first on the Plane out?

The Gombeen Man said...

I travel on a train that services TCD and DCU, Dakota. One morning I had to listen to a couple of - I assumed they were - paleonthology students ask questions in preparation for an exam. One of them wondered whether we were homo sapien or homo erectus.

Anonymous said...

"One of them wondered whether we were homo sapien or homo erectus."

I have often wondered the same, GM :)

But seriously, school here is a farce, but it is still worthwhile for kids to develop social skills by dealing with each other. That's all I expect from school here, and it's all anyone should expect.

As for academics, my wife and I take care of that ourselves. Our boy is 7 (1st class), attending what is reportedly a "good" south Dublin school. In class, he is doing sums that do not amount to more than 10! This material is for jr infants; 5 year olds everywhere else on earth can do 1-digit sums. Yes, the Irish Republic enforces ignorance from our first years; how else could the powers-that-be remain in power? The owners of this Island Paradise profit mightily from an uneducated and dependent populace. Don't expect any real improvements. Too much money is at stake for the "big people". Our stupidity is their security.

So worrying about it is pointless. Parents must fill in on the academic front, if they want their kids to have, you know, a future. Ireland obviously hasn't got one, so a future for you kids means the ability to emigrate comfortably. Science, maths, and modern European languages are the tools they will need. Republican whining and pseudo-Catholic dogma, not so much.

I see other parents at our school; they attend meetings and sit dumb and immobile, waiting for instructions. Our culture of submissive dependency is the problem. Poor schools are merely one small expression of it. If they didn't teach religion and Gaeilge, they would waste time with some other rubbish, and it won't be science, maths, and foreign languages because we don't have enough people qualified in those subjects, and I doubt we ever will. If you want your kids to be self-reliant, smart, adaptable, and able to function independently in an increasingly networked world, it's up to you.

To parents dissatisfied with Irish education I have only this to say: take responsibility for the lives you have brought into the world, sit down with your children, and open a fucking book.


Dakota said...

"One of them wondered whether we were homo sapien or homo erectus"...And they got A+ for just showing up. It's a PAST PAPER MIRACLE.

"Our stupidity is their security" Thomas, the Irish Republic is unique in Western Europe for that. Does anyone seriously think that the best boy in the class PLOY is going to persuade German Tax Payers to hand out money to fund lunacy? (If their Politicians do on their behalf then it be a clear precedent for years of deep recession in Germany).

Speaking of that GM, would there be any chance of a GOMBEEN ALLOWANCE for SCRATCHING MY HEAD AND STICKING MY TONGUE OUT at various points mid-conversation, like a demented snake on speed, pleassssseee? I'm SO WORTH IT, PLLLLEASSSEEE?

If not, what about an ALLOWANCE for my double tongue twister of a name, in GAAELIIICK OF COURSE? The WHESTS AWARE!!!

The Gombeen Man said...

@ thomas. A buke, wassat???? ;-) Yeah, a lot of rote education doesn't encourage critical thinking. Unless it's having a quiet grumble about Peig's headscarf.

@ Dakota. Not sure if there is an allowance, D But I'm sure there are bonus points!...

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Dawkins, this is a disgrace! 10% for religion, this is just crazy.

Come on Quinn, you said you'd take religion out of Irish schools, you might want to start with at least the teacher training colleges.

John said...

When my wife applied for grant to do P.hd in Applied Maths she was refused. Thanks to Swansea University she got a fully funded Doctorate. Her grade average was 92% in undergrad and 82% Masters. I send in July an email to Minister Quinn to ask how can this be? and I got a reference number and no reply.