“Reformers argue that the Koran is a living text and can be reinterpreted”

A Trinity scholar warns against generalising about a population of 1.6 billion

A visitor appraises Caravaggio’s The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew. Photograph: Getty Images

‘The best art affects you as an individual,’ says art theorist Hugh Moss

Characters from the movie Inside Out

Poets rather than scientists are best-placed to explain our feelings, says ‘emotional archivist’ Tiffany Watt Smith

Photograph: Thinkstock

Food ethics has more to do with property rights than what we eat, says American philosopher Paul B Thompson

The dialogues the author creates between Plato and various contemporary characters, including a marketing agent, a Google employee, a Tiger Mum, a radio host and a neuroscientist, convincingly demonstrate the value of continuing the job that Socrates started in ancient Greece. But they also show just why Plato would struggle to be heard today. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Carefully researched and written with delightful verve and imagination, it captures the full scope and spirit of Plato’s dialogue(...)

‘I think cognitive enhancers should be allowed for academics’

‘Smart drugs’ pose dilemmas for students and academics, says an NUI Galway academic

Junior Cycle course seeks to promote the benefits of ‘changing one’s mind’

In general, university courses tend to have the highest retention rates. Photograph: The Irish Times

Irish Times figures show numbers failing to progress beyond first-year in each course

Academics have warned that students at third level are increasingly unable to cope with courses that require maths  competence and require support to pass exams. Photograph: The Irish Times

Up to 80% of students in some courses are failing to progress to second year

Whats not to like?: Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of Saint Peter’s Basilica, formally starting the Jubilee of Mercy, at the Vatican City, 08 December 2015.  EPA/MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI

The church in Ireland promotes fundamental values and provides the basic unit of community

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at the opening of St James’s Catholic primary school in Basin Lane, Dublin, in April 2014, whose creation – out of two merging Catholic schools – allowed Educate Together move into a former Christian Brothers school next door. Photograph: John Mc Elroy.

Christian Brothers trust clashed with department officials, documents show

“Your first kiss will be forever located in some region of space-time.” Photograph: Thinkstock

Einstein suggests life events are an eternal part of the universe, says Daniel Deasy

Jimmy Rabbitte: “Irish are the blacks of Europe” had a ring of truth in late 1980s

Whiteness is as much frame of mind as skin colouring, says Linda Martín Alcoff

Astrology: a tool for interpreting the world? Illustration: Thinkstock

Philosopher (and Capricorn) Martin Cohen says star signs deserve a serious look

“Many people were so impressed by Mary Somerville it made a difference.” Above, portrait by Thomas Phillips

The status of women in science is distorting not just academia but knowledge itself, says Helen de Cruz

It seems a real shame that three things of significance have to share the one “feast day”: men, toilets and philosophy. File photograph: Getty Images

Thursday is ‘feast day’ for three good causes - but only philosophers are really persecuted

WB Yeats: unashamedly elevated imagination over rational calculation

Yeats engaged in ‘cultural mutiny’ against the encroachment of science

Parents who can’t afford fee-charging schools are effectively paying for those who are already privileged to go to private schools. Photograph: Thinkstock

Students and parents have duty to challenge unfairness in education system, argues Dr Audrey Bryan

Trinity College  Dublin paid external consultants €2.8 million to assist in “change management”.

Seven universities spent more than €24.6m on external consultants in three-year period

Towards light: imagine your life from the standpoint of darkness beyond it. Photograph: Thinkstock

Author Raymond Tallis imagines himself as a corpse and discovers new wonder for life

‘There is something about what we are which incarnates unconditional worth.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

You can’t escape religious or metaphysical thinking, argues William Desmond

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Third-level proposals include postgraduate grants and a four-week limit on internships

The National Parents Council Post Primary has expressed concern over  a threat of school closures and strikes by teachers over the Lansdowne Road  deal. File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Teachers in dispute over Lansdowne Road pay deal and Junior Cycle reform

Long-awaited ‘fitness to teach’ hearings can’t be introduced until new legislation on garda vetting is in place, the Department of Education and Skills has said. Image: Thinkstock.

Teaching Council says it is ready to start investigations of poor performance

Asti general secretary Pat King warned individual teachers could forfeit up to €6,700 in lost increments, while others could face redundancy or reduced entitlement to permanency, because of the union’s stance on the Lansdowne Road pay deal. File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Union chief Pat King warns teachers could forfeit up to €6,700 in increments over stance

Union shows no signs of backing down but it’s unclear if teachers have stomach for fight

Trinity College Dublin (left) and UCD (right)  have secured top 100 rankings in a  table of best academic faculties globally. File photographs: The Irish Times

TCD 74th in Arts and Humanities, UCD 99th in Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health sciences

The Ombudsman for Children Dr Niall Muldoon has called for fitness to teach hearings. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Inquiries would improve accountability in education, Oireachtas committee hears

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister approves application for technological university for Connacht and Ulster

DCU’s plans include the development of the recently purchased All Hallows College, Drumcondra site for student accommodation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

University seeks to double student numbers by 2029

Minister for Education and Skills  Jan O’Sullivan published the report into student accommodation last month.  Photograph: Frank Miller

Proposals for student accommodation report withdrawn after departmental objections

Homer Simpson: is there a bit of him in everyone?

The man behind Obama’s ‘nudge unit’ says people need to be protected from their biases

Trinity College Dublin has said it planned to commence an international recruitment campaign next month to fill assistant professorships in Children’s Literature, Medieval History, Global Politics, Midwifery and other areas. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Forty assistant professors to be employed under five-year ‘tenure-track’ contracts

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals said existing employment terms should be renegotiated to make them “more fit-for-purpose, setting out the rights and obligations of teachers and their employers”. Photograph: David Sleator

Continuous training should be integral not added ‘chore’, says school principals’ body

ASTI president Máire G Ní Chiarba who said young teachers have been disproportionately affected by a series of austerity measures over recent years. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Uncertainty over whether ASTI to be bound by decision of Ictu to accept agreement

Sociologists have highlighted the merits of the religious studies approach in primary schools. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Academics argue nature of religious education not sufficiently debated in Ireland

One of the education goodwill gestures in Budget 2016 is an allocation of 300 teaching posts to guidance counselling, which effectively restores half of the provision withdrawn in Budget 2012.

Analysis: Guidance counselling allocation to be ringfenced in schools under circular

A further 600 resource teaching posts will be created next year.

Budget 2016: Pupil-teacher ratio in primary schools being reduced from 28:1 to 27:1

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan was among those who raised concerns about the Leaving Certificate  maths exam. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Commission says aspects of ordinary-level maths marking must ‘remain confidential’

The Long Room Library, Trinity College Dublin.

Proposal to declutter Long Room and create ‘Genius Bar’ for aspiring Mark Zuckerbergs

From left, Joe Humphreys chairing the Unthinkable debate, with Cathy Barry, Kevin Mitchell, Siobhán Garrigan and William Reville. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Irish Times Unthinkable debate seeks resolution to the ‘God versus science’ row

NCAD: The college has been criticised by the Comptroller and Auditor General. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Prof Declan McGonagle to exit, full audit of college’s 2013 accounts to begin in November

The University of Limerick (above) has  strongly denied the allegations regarding expenses claims and  said it welcomed the announcement of an  investigator being appointed. File photograph: Press 22

HEA to appoint external investigator after its chief executive met whistleblower

There was a 25% reduction in overall funding for the Schools Completion Programme – from €32.9 million in 2008 to €24.7 million for 2015. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

ESRI warns of loss of homework clubs, after-school programmes and counselling

 Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan and Emirjeta Doda, a student attending Westland Row Secondary School, Dublin launching collegeaware.ie

Initiative aims to highlight options for school leavers in further and higher education

Almost a quarter of Leaving Cert candidates who appealed their result in higher level Mathematics received an upgrade, figures published by the State Examinations Commission on Wednesday show. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

Results of appeals being sent to schools by courier because of uncertain postal situation

The report notes “there is a need to invest in digital devices in schools”. Photograph: Getty Images

New Leaving Cert subject proposed as €210 million allocated for digital strategy

William James: pragmatism is a way to tackle ordinary and intellectual issues

Moral truths can’t be spoon-fed to people by priests or sages, says Sarin Marchetti, invoking the wisdom of William James

Kieran Christie: incoming ASTI general secretary

Kieran Christie takes over a divided union that has dodged hard decisions

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has introduced new election procedures for the boards of primary schools. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Catholic management body issues advice on running of school board elections

The University of Limerick issued High Court proceedings against the Limerick Leader after it published details of allegations of financial mismanagement.

UL will ‘cooperate fully’ with any inquiry into claims of financial mismanagement

TCD drops to 160th in expanded world ranking - down from 43rd six years ago

The Government’s working group on third-level funding is due to report before the end of the year.

Irish policy makers told funding model ‘comes out on top’ for equity and impact

A separate settlement of €12.25 million was made this year by the State Examinations Commission  for its failure to treat properly for taxation purposes payments to examiners and other contract staff. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

State Examinations Commission settles €12.25m tax liability with the Revenue

A number of serious irregularities have been discovered in payments to schools under the free meals scheme. File photo: Thinkstock

Five schools referred to Garda over payment irregularities

Lotteries: could be used to keep ‘bad reasons’ out of decision-making

Using a lottery is preferable to distributing goods based on ‘bad reasons’, argues political scientist Peter Stone

Helena Wood, far left, of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra; Tanya Massey; Ronan Timmins; and leader of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra Mia Cooper at the launch of this year’s Fr Frank Maher Classical Music Awards

Plus: this year’s Fr Frank Maher Classical Music Awards

The whistleblower has been involved in the provision of learning support in a number of schools. Photograph: Getty Images

Investigation urged over claims time held for special needs is going to management duties

ASTI general secretary Pat King is to retire at the end of this year.

Long-time activist named to replace Pat King amid debate over recruitment procedure

ASTI president Máire Ní Chiarba: “Teachers, the practitioners in the classroom, understand how best to improve teaching and learning.” File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Union narrowly rejects latest reform plan and decides to resume industrial action

In the latest QS rankings University of Limerick went up from the 501-550 bracket to 471-480. File photograph: Press 22

Limerick college aims for 60% increase in foreign students in attempt to raise profile

Fr Michael Drumm, chair of the Catholic Schools Partnership. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Partnership would give Catholic Church and State joint control over school management

TUI president Gerry Quinn (centre left) protesting in Dublin. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Plans to overhaul curriculum have been cause of contention for years

ASTI and TUI members were presented with two ballot papers one on whether to accept or reject the amended reform plan  and the other to mandate further industrial action if the proposals are rejected. Photograph: Eric Luke

Only 38 per cent of ASTI members opt to vote, rejecting plan by narrow margin

The ‘Fightback’ faction publicly questioned the motives of senior union officials. Photograph:  Don MacMonagle

Teachers’ union accuses ‘Fightback’ group undermining elected leadership

Minister for Education Jan O Sullivan: Seen as more supportive of the community national school model than her predecessor. Photograph: The Irish Times

Education and Training Boards planning 22 schools along community model by 2020

The conference heard that funding “cuts were having most impact on those who are least equipped to deal with the fallout”. Photograph: Getty Images

Bigger input required from employers to plug sector funding gap, conference told

An interdepartmental group has been set up to examine possible tax incentives to kick-start construction of student accommodation. File photograph:  Jason Lee/Reuters

Pre-budget submission recommends tax relief for construction of new student housing

Jan O’Sullivan: has annulled ‘unhappy union’

Minister Jan O’Sullivan quietly annuls planned union between teacher trainers MIC and UL

Hands up: US students are more likely to ask questions. Photograph: Getty images/Wavebreak Media

Students here do not participate in class as much as in the US, Irish survey finds

Massimo Pigliucci: “You want to pay attention to the here and now.”

Mindfulness with an ethical twist is the Stoic way, explains philosopher Massimo Pigliucci

Chuck Feeney: the Irish-American philanthropist   is planning a major investment in Trinity  before his charitable operations wind down. Photograph: Alan Betson

Philanthropist discussing investment in Trinity’s Institute of Neuroscience

Teachers may be required to 	demonstrate proficiency in information and communications technology. Photograph: Getty Images

Five-year strategy set to include greater investment in broadband for schools

Principal Treasa Leahy with third-year pupils at Mercy Secondary School, Inchicore, Dublin,  with their mobile devices, used for digital learning in schools. Photograph: Dave Meehan

DCU professor criticises OECD report that linked computer use with poor performance

A working group of the National Council for Special Education  last year recommended a new model of allocating the more than 11,000 learning support posts across schools in the State. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

‘Reform of allocation system needed and I’m committed to achieving that’ - O’Sullivan

Ludwig Wittgenstein: ‘Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.’ Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Cultivating ‘a sense of wonder that the world exists’ is central to Wittgenstein’s philosophy

Just 3.4 per cent of Irish teenagers use the internet for more than six hours during a typical weekday

OECD ranks Irish 15-year-olds sixth out of 32 states for ‘navigation proficiency’

Ireland has one of the lowest rates of internet use in schools in the world but it may be doing students more good than harm.

Intense computer use in class linked to ‘significantly poorer student performance’

UCD has dropped from 139 to 154 in the QS World University Rankings 2015/16

UCC and DIT also fall, but NUIG, DCU, UL and Maynooth University go up a few places

 Willie O’Dea: the Limerick TD says he may refer the matter to the Public Accounts Committee.  Photograph: Frank Miller

Higher education chief says more detail on allegations needed for inquiry to proceed

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan (centre) with former ministers Niamh Bhreathnach  and Mary Hanafin, at the opening of the institute

Students in further education and training ‘are entitled to the best possible standards’, says Minister

The research shows gender biases remain strong in subject choices. Photograph: Getty Images

Boys still outnumber girls by six to one in technology subjects at the higher level

UCD students and faculty members  photographed in the college’s Garden of Rememberence where a moment’s silence was held for  the students who died and were injured in Berkeley, California. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Rose garden seats installed in honour of students who died during college years

Jessie Buttanshaw and Megan Lynch, (right) with their Junior Cert results at The High School, Rathgar, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Of those who took higher level paper, 11.2% scored an A grade, up from 10.7% last year

Some of the most socially advantaged areas of Dublin are among the highest recipients of teaching supports for special needs. Photograph: The Irish Times

Department urged to consider targeting ‘funds at the child rather than at the school’

‘There should not be a difference between people who can afford a diagnosis and people who can’t’

Shortfall in state assessments, which unlock help, causes unfair distribution of resources

The second vote is aimed at closing off a doubt surrounding the legality of the ASTI/TUI industrial action

Plus: who’d be general secretary of the ASTI?

Thomas Francis Meagher: Meagher flew the first Tricolour flag on March 7th, 1848, from 33 the Mall, Waterford, at the Wolfe Tone Club.

Presentation of national flags to include instructions on protocol in preparation for Proclamation Day

Teachers and special needs assistants with students at Mother of Consolation School, Donnycarney, Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Trend linked to parents getting private diagnoses of needs to support applications

‘I am a big fan of maverick teachers who don’t simply carry out what the curriculum dictates.’ Above: Robin Williams in ‘Dead Poets Society’

Teachers should not try to make content ‘relevant’, says sociologist Frank Furedi

 Máire Whelan: Howlin insists Attorney General will not be used as scapegoat. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Nation would be ‘deeply wounded’ if Máire Whelan was lost, says Brendan Howlin

A new Central Applications Office (CAO) points scale for students entering third-level education aimed at taking some of the pressure off the Leaving Cert year has been published.

Bonus points for Leaving Cert maths to remain but will not extend to new ‘fail’ grade

The Drumroe Village  student accommodation at University of  Limerick. A Higher Education Authority report says third level institutions plan to spend €1.2 billion by 2024 on new bed spaces but a shortage of 25,000 beds will remain. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

Minister awards €30,000 grant to students’ union to promote rent-a-room scheme

 The revised Framework for Junior Cycle confirms that English will be the first subject assessed through classroom-based exercises in conjunction with a shorter exam at the end of third year. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Subject will be integrated across junior cycle by 2020 as part of revised reform timetable

ASTI members protesting earlier this year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Leadership of secondary teachers’ union remains divided over compromise proposals

The former Burren National School is in significant disrepair.   Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Phocus

Government shelved plan that could have seen up to 32 Catholic schools in county merge

  TUI president Gerry Quinn (centre left) protesting in Dublin. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

President of teachers’ union says compromise proposals address strike concerns

Waterford Institute Of Technology president Prof Willie Donnelly said the institute is fully committed to providing leadership in the delivery of the new university. Photograph: Patrick Browne/WIT

WIT president cites ‘need to address the issues of mutual trust and respect’

CAO course codes: smaller, specialised courses restrict student options and mobility. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Number of ‘niche’ courses with small student intake is greater than estimated

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