What's the talk of education


I used to think Quinn was an okay TD, but his volte face on student fees – and utter lack of embarrassment in doing so – along with his dubious mileage claims mean I regard him as just another face in the trough . . . He’s running very scared because USI would probably eat him alive for his double standards. – brughahaha,

Our lad won’t be going back to college next term, we can’t afford it. I don’t what he’s going to do, but at the age of 20 it’s up to him. – Rural,

Rural, that’s brutal. I had a fairly crap time in the 1980s when my Da lost his job. I did a completely useless (from a career point of view) degree, classics in TCD, but went on to do another degree in modern languages with the Open University. The OU is a great organisation. If the young fella can find a job, and still wants to study, check out their prospectus online. – Felixunger,

USI is the face-in-the-trough politician finishing school. Why should a minister be expected to go to their waffle house? – Gimpanzee,

To listen to what students have to say. To inform himself. To get a feeling for what is happening in third-level. To ask questions. – uriah,


I have a daughter in second year of secondary school. We have lived in Ireland over 20 years and I have my doubts about the educational system here. My child has four hours of religious education per week. Also we have a French exchange student (she is 13) who had English as a foreign language since first year primary and Spanish and Latin since year two. – La Madame,

Students have a lot of catching up to do in secondary to get on a par with the rest of the world by Leaving Cert. Instead of introducing languages at age six or earlier, Ireland seems to be stuck on the Irish language bandwagon (which I understand and support but only up to a point). I went to a private prep school in Ireland that started French and science from 3rd class (and didn’t focus on Irish for another two years). Also, my boyfriend’s little brother isn’t getting much done in school as they are preparing for his Confirmation. He’s missing lessons for singing practice. It should be done outside of school hours or only in RE time. – prettygurrly,

Students in Ireland spend an excessively high percentage of total class time on religion – the second-highest proportion in the OECD. Only Israeli children spend more. Ireland, unlike all other EU nations, does not mandate the study of a foreign language at any level of education. Most primary schools do not teach a foreign language at all. Although Irish educational spending increased by 83 per cent between 2000 and 2008, the focus was almost exclusively on appeasing public-sector unions by paying higher wages to teachers. There was little emphasis on achieving better outcomes.

Ruairí Quinn is a better Minister for Education than any of his recent predecessors, but he faces an uphill struggle against militant teachers’ unions to reform a curriculum that is still geared more towards the nationalistic, religious values of 1930s Ireland. – Permabear,