DCU president seeks 'coherence' in Irish education


AN EDUCATION think tank should be established to address the “incoherence” of the Irish education system, according to Prof Brian MacCraith, president of Dublin City University.

Delivering the keynote address at a major school-management conference, he said Ireland was at a critical point in its education history.

Fundamental reform was needed, he said, to reverse downward trends and to ensure future prosperity.

“The introduction of such strategic developments at a time of severe austerity requires innovation and flexibility at all levels and from all stakeholders. We need a fundamental culture change in our education system.”

Prof MacCraith – widely regarded as the most influential university president – also praised the reform agenda of Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn.

In recognising that “much progress” had been made to date, he said: “Minister Quinn has already shown an appetite for reform and should be supported by all educators in effecting the necessary change.”

Prof MacCraith further advocated the creation of an education think tank in Ireland.

“The establishment of an education research and policy institute, along the lines of the UK Institute of Education, could play a key role in developing and delivering coherence.

“More significantly, such an institute, built on existing capabilities, could address the central challenges of our education system at all points on the continuum from early childhood to fourth level (post-graduate), and play a transformational role in ensuring a world-class education system for Ireland.”

Prof MacCraith was addressing the annual conference of the Joint Managerial Body in Galway called Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century.

In his address, Ferdia Kelly, general secretary of the managerial body, urged the Government to address, as a matter of urgency, the enormous and unsustainable workload of principals in voluntary secondary schools.