Machine Nation

Irish Politics Forum - Politics Technology Economics in Ireland - A Look Under The Nation's Bonnet


Devilish machinations come to naught --Milton
 
PortalPortal  HomeHome  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log in  GalleryGallery  MACHINENATION.org  

Share | 
 

 The False God of Irish Education

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2  Next
AuthorMessage
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: The False God of Irish Education   Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:00 pm

I have to say that I am a bit bemused by all those people who accept without question that the Celtic Tiger was in large part spawned by our glorious education system.

Personally, I think this is totally exaggerated.

The very successful people I know fall into two camps. The first camp got very little out of education and left education when they were 16 or younger. They will tell you that what they got in school was some reading, some writing and lots of verbal abuse and beatings. The other camp were very talented and excelled at all levels into and through university. These two camps are the wealth creators.

My personal experience of education was that the most talented always got through and were for the most part left to look after themselves. The teachers concentrated on those who were behind in their reading or writing or who had home problems. Are those people now the wealth generators? Perhaps but not because of education. Are they the talented, flexible workforce? I suspect that they generally do not achieve exceptional skill levels in the end. Most of them are of average ability and are ultimately pigeon-holed. In the meantime, the very smart kids who could be nurtured into exceptionally high achievers and possible huge wealth creators are left to potter along unchallenged and un-nurtured in the vast majority of schools.

The only good thing that education has taught them is the intensity of effort needed to succeed (the points race) and a number of different ways of thinking, through the number of subject which they must study. This has nothing to do with class size, quality of teachers, relevance of material learned, quality of the curriculum or quality of school buildings or sports facilities. Those that get left behind survive as they always have and either become innovators or settle into job streams that match their talents.

From what I know of history, science, economics, languages, local administration, business, technology and the arts, I am of the opinion that the so called amazing education system that produced all the tiger cubs was comprised of outdated, uncreative, often inapplicable and ineffective curricula.

The IDA spouted the mantra that our educated workforce was attracting the multinationals but we now know that they were more swayed by low taxes, tax breaks, lower wages, common language and our membership of the EU (a stable and progressive economic/political entity). They were also very influenced by the Government Departments' pro-active approach to tweaking and perfecting the business environment in response to companies' requests.

Sure, they were happy to have skilled engineers working in the repetitive factory jobs and the call centres. However, I think we can thank our university system and the previous shortage of jobs for supplying those people. We can no longer supply those people because, given the choice, those people don't want to do those jobs.

Were Irish workers really that more talented than other countries? We may have been a bit more industrious but we weren't more talented. Did that come from our education system? No, it came form fear of failure and emigration. Were Irish students out-performing their continental cousins in literacy, maths, science and the humanities? No, they certainly weren't. Another part of the myth of how all our students got such a fantastic education.

Is there any evidence that the students being produced by Irish schools, with all the additional funding and reduced teacher/student ratios, are providing a better economic future of the country than the last few generations? No there isn't. They are not excelling in maths and sciences as we need them to do to create the fabled knowledge economy.

Many well-off students are getting into the private third level education centres that have sprung up around the place rather than do real battle in the points race. The College of Surgeons and Portobello College are probably producing more doctors and lawyers than UCD. The meritocracy has been torn down by the new wealth. Those who come out of these courses are overstepping the talented (who can't afford the fees or the long training onlow wages) and are expecting to get paid the wages of the talented people, while the talented people aren't getting to the jobs where they are needed.

In my view, the Irish education system should have five major goals over the next 10 years in the following order of importance:

1. Educate and integrate the new Irish at a young age to stop the fabric of society being ruptured.

2. Get the brightest of the brightest wealth creators be they students or talented lecturers into our universities.

3. Give the teachers more back-up by reducing teachers' and schools' legal liability to students for disciplining the student or denying them an education. Give them the power to expel students who are wilfully disruptive. Secondary schools are not working as things are. Make it a serious criminal offence for a parent to threaten a teacher.

4. Make the teachers submit to performance testing. If we have to lose teachers out of the system then let's start with the useless lumps first. The job is too important for incompetent people - get them out. Teachers should be obliged to keep up to date on their areas in their time off - the good ones are doing it anyway and the others are living off their backs.

5. Engage with the teachers and people in society for ideas about how to rejuvenate the curricula. The scientists should get a say as should the business people. There should be no teaching of discredited or out of date theories.

I think all of the above goals, except for no. 4, can actually be achieved. I cannot imagine the teachers ever swallowing performance testing. Those that know it would make their job more rewarding and help students will never overcome those that want to do as little work as possible.

I do not deny that education helps a lot of people and provides a very important social service. However, I think people need to get real about the wonders that primary and secondary education are going to do for our economic wellbeing, especially by concentrating primarily on those falling behind and leaving the most talented to fend for themselves. If we really can't afford the teachers that will perform that social benefit now, then we need to concentrate resources in the areas that will help us to be able to afford them in the future. I suggest that the probability of achieving that future wealth creation through the current primary and secondary education systems is vastly over estimated, mostly by primary and secondary school teachers.

Sin e mo rhant.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:27 pm

They didn't change the history cirriculum for about 30 years - tells you something.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:49 pm

Let us just clarify for the moment that the Royal College of Surgeons is not exactly a new institution which has sprung up, a la Portobello College (no slur on Portobello). The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland predates the establishment of UCD, University College Cork, University College Galway and Queens University Belfast by over a century.

There is no buy your way to a medical degree in Ireland. You must still get straight A's in the poinst race to get in anywhere and to suggest otherwise is incorrectly derogatory to that institution, despite the fact that it is a private fee paying institution.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:54 pm

Education, whilst directly linked to wealth creation, must not be reduced merely to a method by which to create weath.

Knowledge is a worthy pursuit in its own right. We don't economically need to know about Odysseus spending seven years captivity on Calypso's island, nor do we necessarily need to understand the depth of Irish literature nor European history. Our economy does not require our young people to have an understanding of music, an appreciation of art or an experience of acting.

However, our society would be all the more futile without these things.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:01 pm

Zhou, are you pre-empting the ranting the Govt. will have to face from the schools now Wink

Your points are excellent and you're totally on the ball on most of what you say, in my limited experience as a sub teacher at most levels, though secondary I avoided like the plague. I have my dignity.

There is much consumption to the knowledge economy as production and education can basically be training for consumption. I don't know how vacuous that sounds to you but maybe think of it in terms of cars (or fishing rods) in that when people are trained to consume something then an industry will usually spread up around that - vehicle production, petrol stations, oil production, mechanics, NCTs etc. For computers it works similarly - training, consumption of units, consumption of software, use of software, development of software (potentially by the originally untrained users), development of hardware and associated hardware industries including manufacture, design, research and application of existing hardware to customised or tailored ends - perhaps someone wants to be able to monitor their home using their mobile phone while they are abroad ?

Allowing people to play is good in itself but it needs the faith and will behind it - education is akin to play more closely than we admit. From play comes creativity, productivity and co-operation. But our approach is otherwise - education is more akin to moving through ranks in the army than playing around with stuff in a lab, ideas in a library or images in a studio. Besides our cultural attitudes to it we have to deal with children who don't want to fit into that system anymore and will become increasingly more difficult to "educate" as their social and personal environment change but their academic one remains stultified. Education should be an all-round enriching of a person after all.

So you could be right about imposing strictures on unruly children and unruly parents. We also should rethink the idea of education as a means to an end rather than an end in itself which it is. The ones who will go on to be the inventive ones will percolate up and the best teachers should be located to provide environments for those inventive and constructive students who will turn into the people that will drive our society and give it its mores in the long run.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:22 pm

johnfás wrote:
Let us just clarify for the moment that the Royal College of Surgeons is not exactly a new institution which has sprung up, a la Portobello College (no slur on Portobello). ....

There is no buy your way to a medical degree in Ireland. You must still get straight A's in the poinst race to get in anywhere....
I'm not sure that you are correct that it is absolutely necessary to get srtraight As to get into the RCS. Certainly, in olden days there were number of places reserved for people with something like 430 points plus subject to an interview. As far as I know, and I can't speak with absolute authority, it was doctors children who benefitted from this. Perhaps somebody else can confirm this?


johnfás wrote:
Education, whilst directly linked to wealth creation, must not be reduced merely to a method by which to create weath.
...
Agreed. I am just attacking the myth that our education system gave us the Celtic Tiger. I am further saying that in times of economic need one should concentrate resources on those areas that provide economic benefits.

There is no point spending your money on shakespeare while starving. Virginia Woolf was correct that a room and a roof are the most important ingredients for intellectual achievement and freedom.

Auditor #9 wrote:

Allowing people to play is good in itself but it needs the faith and will behind it - education is akin to play more closely than we admit. From play comes creativity, productivity and co-operation. But our approach is otherwise - education is more akin to moving through ranks in the army than playing around with stuff in a lab, ideas in a library or images in a studio.
I agree. we need to have extra-curriculur activities but teachers aren't going to put themselves in positions where they may be legally liable for accidents or open to accusations if they do things on their own. They are also not going to commit to extra-curriculur activities if the community and specifically students and parents don't give them the respect and kudos they deserve for these efforts. I think reducing schools' and teachers' liability gives them more control to direct their students toward creative activities rather than feeling unempowered and compelled to stick to the accepted regimen.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:39 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
johnfás wrote:
Education, whilst directly linked to wealth creation, must not be reduced merely to a method by which to create weath. ...
Agreed. I am just attacking the myth that our education system gave us the Celtic Tiger. I am further saying that in times of economic need one should concentrate resources on those areas that provide economic benefits.
So what areas do you see as currently producing economic benefits ? Computers for adults comes to mind along with a slew of vocational courses that Fás or the VECs might provide which might stir up a mini-boom in home renovations or supply a labour force for a national insulation scheme the like of which I heard Eamon Gilmore talking about.

Maybe you are referring purely to academic education but I see a lot of value too in the vocational side. There is a myth there holding people back too where they think they are "too old to learn computers" or "too hold for tiling/plumbing" or not the right gender for car maintenance.

But tell us what areas you would consider as having immediate economic benefits .
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:03 pm

I'm not sure A#9. I think it is more what you can cut without severely compromising economic growth. The areas I would see as providing benefit for the economy would be:

1. Making efforts to bring the best and the brightest into our universities as lecturers, researchers and post-grads.

2. Fostering the creation of energy conservation technology through grants and funding.

3. Reducing the regulatory burden on business. Every business should be entitled to a full pack of sample procedures to coply with regulations, e.g. employment documentation, health & safety dcumentation, licence documentation etc. There should be a one stop shop and it should all come in one book, much like a franchise agreement.

4. Abolishing the National Employment Rights Agency and bringing back the Labour Inspectors (i.e. replace prosecutors with advisers).
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:20 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
I'm not sure A#9. I think it is more what you can cut without severely compromising economic growth. The areas I would see as providing benefit for the economy would be:

1. Making efforts to bring the best and the brightest into our universities as lecturers, researchers and post-grads.

2. Fostering the creation of energy conservation technology through grants and funding.

3. Reducing the regulatory burden on business. Every business should be entitled to a full pack of sample procedures to coply with regulations, e.g. employment documentation, health & safety dcumentation, licence documentation etc. There should be a one stop shop and it should all come in one book, much like a franchise agreement.

4. Abolishing the National Employment Rights Agency and bringing back the Labour Inspectors (i.e. replace prosecutors with advisers).

You can't build a modern economy on a tiny layer of special people.
I think fostering the "brightest and best" is essential, and perhaps there should be a small special programme to pick up on people like those lads from Limerick that went to Enterprise Ireland for supports aged 16 and were run out of it, and ended up in Harvard and running a business before school leaving age. But at the end of the day, this is not the main business of education.

When a company looks at Ireland as a place to locate, it looks at the availability of a pool of labour with the right qualifications and it looks at our overall educational attainment levels throughout the State. It is not looking for the few stars: they can be bought in, if the work environment is right. After the dot com bubble, Irish students abandoned IT in droves and nothing was done to get them back into it. Subsequently IT graduates have had to be brought in from all corners of the globe and recruitment difficulties added to the reasons why FDI is leaving.

I think the cultural output of Ireland is also overlooked and neglected. Our younger age groups figure very highly on literacy in OECD comparisons. We are a very small country with a very rich culture. There should be a "think tank" on how cultural talent can be turned into economic well-being.

Neglect of children from lower income groups over the years has given us a situation in which there is an unacceptably high number of young people who have very limited employment options. The budget cuts in Traveller education are wrecking my head. There are so many things that obstruct Traveller children from getting an education, I could weep to see the small bit that had been started get the chop.


Last edited by cactus flower on Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:29 pm

**cactus posted above

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
I'm not sure A#9. I think it is more what you can cut without severely compromising economic growth. The areas I would see as providing benefit for the economy would be:

1. Making efforts to bring the best and the brightest into our universities as lecturers, researchers and post-grads.
We're copping-on a bit about the entry requirements into the medical profession - we're giving aptitude tests now to filter in the more suitable people, not just the best learners - that kind of thing ?


Quote :
2. Fostering the creation of energy conservation technology through grants and funding.
I don't know why there isn't a national approach to this, independent of politics. To me it's simply a natural thing to do - fix your leaks and get your place as comfortable and livable as possible. We need a national goal I think without impoverishing ourselves and I think this is achievable very affordably and concretely. Do you mean educating people on insulation though ?


Quote :
3. Reducing the regulatory burden on business. Every business should be entitled to a full pack of sample procedures to coply with regulations, e.g. employment documentation, health & safety dcumentation, licence documentation etc. There should be a one stop shop and it should all come in one book, much like a franchise agreement.
Is there a lot of scope for streamlining processes like regulation so ? We've been burned by it recently too, maybe it's worth seperating the places where the free market should be left alone and where some areas need to be shown the visible hand. Could students in Universities be given projects to work on that would enhance work in the Civil Service ? Cheap labour and providing a type of training for them.

Quote :
4. Abolishing the National Employment Rights Agency and bringing back the Labour Inspectors (i.e. replace prosecutors with advisers).
I don't know what the difference is Zhou...
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:57 pm

Apologies. I wasn't focussing on education for wealth creation.

If I had scarce resources and had to decide between different sectors of the education budget I would aim it at excellence and innovation in the third level sector. I think the primary and secondary levels are sufficient if not excellent. It is much easier to make big improvements at third level institutions as their are less vested interests and less powerful lobbies in favour of the status quo (that is not to say there are none, just less of them and less powerful ones).

CF - where is it shown that we perform better on literacy than other OECD countries? I've heard people put that forward and others dismiss it as balderdash. Perhaps there is definitive proof somewhere.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:34 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Apologies. I wasn't focussing on education for wealth creation.

If I had scarce resources and had to decide between different sectors of the education budget I would aim it at excellence and innovation in the third level sector. I think the primary and secondary levels are sufficient if not excellent. It is much easier to make big improvements at third level institutions as their are less vested interests and less powerful lobbies in favour of the status quo (that is not to say there are none, just less of them and less powerful ones).

CF - where is it shown that we perform better on literacy than other OECD countries? I've heard people put that forward and others dismiss it as balderdash. Perhaps there is definitive proof somewhere.

I would go for the top and the bottom ends and plug the gaps in the middle. Very Happy I think the OECD has consistently given us good rankings of literacy and poor on maths. I'll try to check it.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:58 pm

Third level OECD comparison:
http://www.oecd.org/document/31/0,2340,en_2649_201185_33710751_1_1_1_1,00.html
By gender 2004
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/56/9/37863998.pdf
Lack of statistics for N. Ireland
http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/io/research/2007/1107.pdf
Public funding vs Fees for Third Level
http://www.tuac.org/en/public/e-docs/00/00/03/08/telecharger.phtml?cle_doc_attach=938

Education: Overview

( http://www.forfas.ie/ncc/reports/ncc_annual_07/ch04/ch04_03.html)

Average educational attainment in Ireland has increased steadily in the last two decades, with younger cohorts of the population as well qualified as their OECD counterparts. Older cohorts of Ireland’s labour force remain less qualified than the OECD average, though, and a relatively large share of the working age population has no more than lower secondary education (Fig. 4.45). Expenditure per student is below the OECD average at all levels (except pre-primary), while the pre-primary education system is predominantly privately funded, unlike in other countries (Fig. 4.46, 4.47).

Pre-Primary and Primary
Without a comprehensive state-funded pre-primary system, participation of three year-olds in education in Ireland is minimal and well below the EU-15 average (Fig. 4.48). At primary level, while the average number of hours tuition given to 9-11 year-olds is among the highest in the OECD, the amount of time spent on the key skills of mathematics, science and technology is among the lowest of the countries surveyed (Fig. 4.49).

Secondary
Ireland has made significant progress over time and relative to other countries in terms of increasing secondary school participation rates. The proportion of the 20-24 year-old population with upper secondary in Ireland is above the EU-15 average and now exceeds the Lisbon target of 85 percent (Fig. 4.50). In the latest OECD PISA study (2003), Irish 15 year-olds ranked well among OECD countries in terms of reading literacy (6th) but less well in terms of scientific literacy (13th) and mathematical literacy (16th) (Fig. 4.52). Ireland’s scientific literacy ranking has fallen four places since 2000. The number of computers per student is relatively low in Ireland (Fig. 4.53).

Tertiary & Life-Long Learning
Ireland’s younger population is considerably better qualified than older cohorts, with 41 percent of the 25-34 age group possessing a third-level qualification. This compares very favourably with the OECD average of 35 percent (Fig. 4.55). It is difficult to measure the quality of third level institutions due to a range of issues. Based on available data, the performance of Irish third level institutions ranks far behind the leading institutions overseas. Ireland’s leading third level institution ranks 78th in the world (Fig. 4.56).

Life long learning is defined as all learning activity undertaken throughout life, with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competencies. Adult participation in life long learning remains relatively low in Ireland - below both the EU average and Ireland’s Lisbon target (Fig. 4.58).

Research and Development (R&D)
The transition to a knowledge economy requires higher levels of expenditure in research and development, both in terms of capital infrastructure and development programmes. This section examines various measures of expenditure in research and development, and the outputs achieved.

Despite a large increase in actual expenditure on R&D, Ireland is making limited progress towards the Irish (2.5 percent of GNP by 2013) and the Lisbon (3 percent of GDP by 2010) targets as strong economic growth is making these targets more difficult to achieve. Total R&D spending in Ireland increased from 1.32 percent of GNP in 2000 to 1.59 percent of GNP in 2006 (Fig. 4.59). This compares with an OECD average of 2.26 percent (2006). The number of researchers in Ireland is also growing. The number of researchers per 1000 total employment has grown from 5 per 1000 in 2000 to 6 per 1000 in 2006 (Fig. 4.60). The R&D Action Plan for promoting investment in R&D has set a target of 9.3 researchers per 1000 of total employment by 2010. Despite strong growth rates in expenditure, business R&D as a percentage of economic activity has remained relatively static over the past decade (Fig. 4.61). Most business expenditure on R&D in Ireland is undertaken by foreign-owned companies (Fig. 4.63). Finally, higher education expenditure has increased strongly since 2000 (Fig. 4.65).
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:54 am

thanks for all the info CF. It will take me a while to get through it. from what I can see, we have not exactly been leading the field in literacy rates over the last 20 years. We are not too far behind either, and are getting better. That is broadly as I expected and contradicts the myth I heard in my youth that Ireland had developed exceptionally high literacy rates.


Last edited by Zhou_Enlai on Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:29 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
thanks for all the info CF. It will take me a while to get through it. from what I can see, we have not exactly been leading the field in leteracy rates over the last 20 years. We are not too far behind either, and are getting better. That is broadly as I expected and contradicts the myth I heard in my youth that Ireland had developed exceptionally high literacy rates.

There is a big gap between literacy rates in the older age groups (low -agriculture dominated) and the younger age group. Ireland did not abandon phonetic teaching until about ten years ago. I would have my concerns about how they are doing with the defective hodge podge of UK teaching methods that were introduced then.

Anyone got a child learning to read at school? Do they teach them to sound out the words, or "look and say" ?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:56 pm

IIASA Podcast No. 5 deals with the effect of education on economic wealth. Interestingly it seems that it is what you learn and not the size of your class that makes the difference.

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Publications/podcast/

05 - World Population Seminar - 16 January 2007
Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Wolfgang Lutz

Human Capital, Age Structure, and Economic Growth

IIASA demographers present a new dataset of educational attainment by age and sex for 120 countries for the period 1970–2000. By exploiting the demographic dimension of the education data, the researchers show aggregate changes in educational attainment are a robust determinant of economic growth.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:16 pm

I have no doubt that for the vast majority of children it is the subject matter and how it is taught, rather than where or how many it is taught to, that determines the standard of education received. The advantage of smaller classes, and I am open to correction here by teachers such as Kate P, is not so much the standard per se but the degree of interaction between individuals and teachers. This in particular helps children who are struggling and also makes it more likely that teachers can better spot, and thus address, problems that individual struggling students face. I would guess that the higher achieving students will achieve regardless of how many are in their class.

I'm just guessing alot of the above though because I don't really have any experience of large classes, apart from university lectures. I was very blessed in that regard.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:34 am

And I think you should consider changing the title of the thread. The celtic tiger was never interested in education; it was - and judging by the rest of the opening post still is despite its feline lameness, interested for the most part in vocational training of one kind or another, paring kids down to fit whatever little boxes the marketplace has on offer at any given time.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:41 am

When I arrived here to go to UCC, I was struck by the way vocational degrees and qualifications were considered the thing to have by students and their parents, academic degrees being looked down upon. This is the direct opposite to the snobbery that exists among the middle and upper classes in Britain, who see vocational qualifications as being far inferior. I tried explaining to some why I thought degrees in computer techie stuff were risky, i.e.that graduates were ten-a-penny and that they were a hostage to the fortune of the industry, and I was dismissed in a patronizing fashion with general inanities about how computers were the way of the future and how everybody would be living and breathing cyberlives. It's amazing how widely this sh1te was bought in to...
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:47 am

I think it is important to remember that education is not solely concerned with the statistics produced by an education system or by the number of graduates that get out of our universities and what they contribute to our GDP. These are naturally important factors when examining the education system on a macro level. But equally, and Kate P's post highlights this excellently, for so many in our society merely getting through the front door of a school is an achievement. Managing to keep that child coming through the door for a further 14 years is a greater achievement yet.

Education is as much about instilling value in our young people as it is about the academic results we would hope that they might achieve. It is only with a sense of value that any child can achieve anything.

You can apply the same logic to virtually any degree course, toxic. Degrees don't exactly qualify you for anything but they do demonstrate that you have a skillset. My degree is in History and Politics. It doesn't exactly qualify me for anything but it does equip me for alot. The same is true of a techie degree.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:52 am

Re the marketplace, as mentioned in Kate P's second post, this is something which also deeply concerns me and is something I am presently watching play out.

For instance, my girlfriend's younger sister is currently in fifth year in school, as naturally are all her friends, so I hear a great deal of discussion about future course choices over at her house. Her best subject at Junior Cert level was Art and it was something she really enjoyed. However, something or someone has led her to believe that subjects like art are not worth pursuing. She also had a great interest in helping people, courses like nursing and other related disciplines might perhaps have been of interest. However, with only one science subject and a Leaving Cert in 18 months which will be full of Business subjects it is hard to see where she will get these opportunities. I'm fairly sure she is happy with her decisions thus far, she is doing the same subjects as her friends. But I really hope it does not backfire.

Picking any subject on the basis of a career opportunity, particularly for school or academic study is, in my opinion, in most situations going to be something that you regret. I have friends who have entered accountancy firms simply because that seemed to be a great place to get a job. They had no interest in accountancy and thus are now demoralised and struggling to pass the exams. These same people excelled at their undergraduate degrees in unrelated disciplines and they did so with a vigour for the subject.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:09 am

johnfás wrote:


You can apply the same logic to virtually any degree course, toxic. Degrees don't exactly qualify you for anything but they do demonstrate that you have a skillset. My degree is in History and Politics. It doesn't exactly qualify me for anything but it does equip me for alot. The same is true of a techie degree.

I know this might come across a bit intolerant or something, but I don't agree. I think techie degrees don't equip you for anything except that particular job-set they feed in to. Am I being too Nineteenth Century about it?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:30 am

How to be a dunce:

"Chesterton's case showed how he slunk through the educational system without much notice. One teacher claimed that under his skull was a big white lump of fat. And Gilbert seemed to make some effort at trying to hide his brilliance, trying to stay out of the range of official attention."

Chesterton blog and discussion on education:

http://americanchestertonsociety.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-be-dunce.html

And how to be a dunce, part 2:

http://americanchestertonsociety.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-be-dunce-part-two.html
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Zhou's Interesting Podcasts   Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:51 am

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
IIASA Podcast No. 5 deals with the effect of education on economic wealth. Interestingly it seems that it is what you learn and not the size of your class that makes the difference.

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Publications/podcast/

05 - World Population Seminar - 16 January 2007
Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Wolfgang Lutz

Human Capital, Age Structure, and Economic Growth

IIASA demographers present a new dataset of educational attainment by age and sex for 120 countries for the period 1970–2000. By exploiting the demographic dimension of the education data, the researchers show aggregate changes in educational attainment are a robust determinant of economic growth.

Zhou - a lot of that stuff in there looks very interesting - you do come up with a lot of sources of ideas and information. I don't use an MP3 player, I wonder if I can listen to them without.

I had read and heard before that class size wasn't a big issue - although I suppose there must be an upper limit above which it does become one. At the small group end of things, up to 7-8 people can work collectively in a seminar - above that it starts to fall apart.

I had read in one of Stiglitz's books that those countries who safeguarded and improved their education in a downturn (or in the clutches of the IMF) were the ones who came out of it.
This isn't necessarily an issue of spending more money, but of planning, political and social support, prioritisation and methodology.

Kate P - enjoyed your post. I lecture and train people sometimes and get a great buzz out of it, but the day to day, year to year sustenance of educating the young is on a different level in terms of commitment.

I have friends who are teachers and from them I have the impression that there is in most schools a culture that writes a proportion of students off, basically because of their low social status and what can go with it in terms of greater need for teaching. Classroom chat demonising or denigrating certain children maybe tempting for teachers under stress, but it is shocking to here about it from the point of view of an outsider.

Quote :
The class I'm most proud of ever teaching had ten kids, half of whom took a foundation paper and half of whom took a pass paper, all of whom had been 'dumped' on me, the newbie, because they were all too difficult and disruptive to teach and were told they were doing foundation level, whether they liked it or not. Out of ten 'duds' as the other staff called them, all passed the subject, even the deaf student and the alcoholic and the guy who sexually harrassed me for half the year. The half who sat the pass paper against all the odds passed and passed well. Show teachers the performance testing method that will recognise that and you won't have to wait for them to sign up
.

I think that methodologies for teaching reading should be subject to rigorous testing, evaluation and comparison before they are introduced. I am not convinced that this has been done, either here or in the UK.


Just a question...Did you prefer teaching students who were having grinds or students who weren't - or was it not possible to tell the difference?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:59 am

I am not so sure that there is a direct link between wealth creation and education. There is a link into professions that pay a sound income. Wealth creation however is often about opportunity, access to resources and contacts as well as a restless spirit. If you are born in a council estate and father a labourer, I reckon the odds are stacked against you.

So how does the educational system first spot and foster such budding talent. Sorry but I just do not see it happening as the average teacher is simply there to earn a living and anyway how do you spot talent in a 7 year old?

Also so much depends on one's first few years in life so the talented boy or girl from a council estate in the East end age 7, no matter how able, will often have (from the teachers point of view) very poor linguistic and social skills.

On Education generally, whilst all knowledge is good setting up a system that generates pointless degrees seems to me to be a gross inefficiency. Many of the courses in Universities are of little real value and have the potential to be self perpetuating. They simply soak up able people and resources. There are not enough science, engineering, and applied courses.

There is also a dearth of proper training and apprenticeships for a wide range of practical skills. Such skills need to be held in higher esteem. IMO A good cabinet maker is of more real value than most Barristers.

I went to the sort of school where just about everyone ends up in University and from there many went into the likes of Banking. Current events perhaps go to show what happens when you spend to much on the education of the less able!
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: The False God of Irish Education   

Back to top Go down
 
The False God of Irish Education
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 2Go to page : 1, 2  Next
 Similar topics
-
» False Prophet, or Human Error?
» Weakness of False Gods (Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:14)
» HELP I AM NEW AND I THINK I HAVE A FALSE PROPHET FOR A PASTOR!
» "On average, about four hours is spent on migraine in undergraduate medical education,"
» Hi..My name is Linda Irish...I wanted to say I am happy to find your site...

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Machine Nation  :: Business and Finance :: Economy, Business and Finance-
Jump to: