Anything that eases strain for students is worth it, say guidance councillors

File photograph of Trinity College Dublin. The Student Universal Support Ireland website is now accepting applications for college financial aid for the 2015/2016 academic year. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Student Universal Support Ireland now accepting inquiries on college financial aid

‘Philosophical realists attribute the persistence of disagreement to ignorance and/or verbal misunderstanding’

It’s not easy but there is a third way to the realist and relativist approaches to truth, says UCD professor of American philosoph(...)

Students at work at Cork Institute of Technology. Industrial action begins at CIT on Monday over its plans to merge with IT Tralee. File photograph:  Joe St Leger/The Irish Times

Upheaval in third-level sector escalates on Monday with industrial action at Cork IT

Studying geography: around 58 million children of primary school age are still without schooling, an event in Dublin, organised by the Irish Coalition for the Global Campaign for Education, was told

Humanitarian funding to education in emergencies critically low, conference told

Peter Cassells, chair of advisory group on third-level funding. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Number in universities and institutes of technology set to grow by 30 per cent

The chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection, Labour TD Joanna Tuffy, accused the USI of doing “a bit of a fudge” on the grant issue

USI wants inequalities removed from grants system but seeks no move against ‘asset rich’

The new president of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) Prof Willie Donnelly

New management put in place after institute’s withdrawal from merger talks with IT Carlow

Almost a third of higher education institutions believe they will fail to achieve performance targets upon which a portion of their funding depends, a new survey reveals. Photograph: Thinkstock.

Universities seeking more fee-paying international students to boost finances, forum hears

ASTI president-elect Máire Ní Chiarba and outgoing president Philip Irwin. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Two delegates from Fermoy branch make influential contribution at conference

‘Bob may know a fact or two about financial markets and think he can invest smartly when actually much more should be taken into account.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

We should not eradicate doubt but use it to our advantage, says philosopher Luciano Floridi

Only about a dozen English teachers have attended training sessions for the new junior cycle programme, the Department of Education said

Department says industrial action will harm current English students

The growth of commercial websites offering to carry out student assignments showed how “the depersonalisation and de-professionalisation of education will create problems”. File photograph: iStockphoto

Union’s members express concerns over impact of technology on higher education

Tom Boland, chief executive of the  Higher Education Authority,  said some universities were  “lamentably slow, even contradictory” in reducing number of courses.

Universities backtrack on plan to reform ‘bewildering’ CAO system

DCU: one of a number of institutions that are altering their methods of assessment, in tandem with the rollout of ‘cut-and-paste’ detection software, to combat academic fraud. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Universities increase measures to combat academic fraud as websites offer to do work

The proposed design for the “model” UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland

Building costing €7.4m being funded in part by Chinese and Irish government contributions

Proposed design for the UCD Confucius Institute: the institutes are designed to promote Chinese language and culture

Terms of 50-year agreement for €7.4 million cultural centre ‘a good outcome’, says college

Teachers protesting outside Modern Educational Centre on Dublin’s Harcourt Street.

Modern Educational Centre blames ‘surprise’ reforms for creating turmoil

A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General has raised concern at the high level of successful appeals by applicants to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) for college grants. Image:

Staffing and outsourced costs for awards agency ‘significantly higher than envisaged’

Missing student Karen Buckley (24) is one of about 2,000 Irish students who travel to the UK to attend university each year

Scotland a popular destination as no tuition fees charged to Irish students

Cambridge professor John MacBeath has voiced his support for the Government’s new school self-evaluation process, saying it will help to strengthen schools. File photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

John MacBeath voices support for new SSE process ahead of Dublin conference

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan: said the picketing ‘sits uneasily’ with the unions‘ commitment to knowledge and learning.

Only a handful of non-unionised teachers have crossed the picket lines to date

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said last week she hoped teachers “will come in numbers” to attend CPD

Department criticises unions for impeding members from ‘professional development’

Jan O’Sullivan, Minister for Education and Skills, addresses delegates at the Clayton Hotel in Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Minister hailed for her ‘great skill at defusing rows’ gets a merit badge from the unions

Staff and students with Gardaí outside The Leinster College language school on Harcourt Street which closed its doors last year due to financial issues. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Students’ body warns against weakening of regulations to meet business demands

TUI general secretary John MacGabhann: said there were aspects of the proposal the ASTI would have difficulties with even though it would support the thrust of the motion

Teachers in further education threaten industrial action over ‘privatisation’ plan

Educate Together chief executive Paul Rowe said  “the fact that an increasing number of Irish parents consider that it is necessary to get their children baptised in the Catholic faith in order to access publicly funded schools, rather than out of personal religious conviction, is a shocking alarm note for a modern democratic state.”

Rule giving church dominant role in 90% of primary school patronage not changed in new Bill

An ESRI report into supports for disadvantaged schools suggests they should be rebalanced in favour of urban recipients as rural ones are already outperforming the national average. Photograph: The Irish Times

Report notes current junior cycle creating ‘disengagement among working-class boys’

Department of Education secretary general Seán Ó Foghlú and Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan during TUI president Gerry Quinn’s speech. Photograph: Tommy Clancy

TUI praises Jan O’Sullivan for making ‘a fairly good attempt’ to resolve dispute

 Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan: “I firmly believe that staff and their unions should have the right to be consulted and provided with information on any proposed changes to their employment.” Photograph: Patrick Browne

Croke Park hours of ‘great value’ to department, says senior official

Gerry Quinn, TUI president and Philip Irwin, ASTI president have issued a joint statement to members urging them to “hold firm” at this “critical” stage of junior cycle reform talks. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

ASTI and TUI say they ‘want to resolve the dispute’ but only if conditions are met

MInister for Education Jan O Sullivan: Urged INTO delegates to be realistic on pay demands and  was not invited to address ASTI delegates. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

ASTI chief says union to seek restoration of common basic scale for all teachers

INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said “the cuts will affect the quality of the education and outcomes they achieve for generations to come”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Sinn Féin Minister admits reductions in education budget will cause ‘huge problems’

An interdepartmental group is being set up to investigate the operation of the DEIS scheme for disadvantaged schools

ESRI cites ‘need for joined-up thinking between education and broader social policy’

Schools are in danger of being “micromanaged” by the department of education under new legislation governing admissions policies, a leading management body has said

Bill’s failure to address religious favouritism ‘outrageous’, says humanists

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan says teachers “need to be realistic” about the Government’s capacity to restore the pay losses of the austerity era. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘We make no apology for looking for our money back’ - INTO general secretary

Ignoring developments in neuroscience means neglecting a chance to become more ethical, argues Prof William T O’Connor

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan. The restriction on past pupils forms part of the Admission to Schools Bill. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Admissions Bill provisions will lead to phasing out of waiting lists

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan  recently rejected a value-for-money report which had recommended further rationalisation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Union says less than 5 per cent of graduating primary teachers get permanent job

Nevin Economic Research Institute director Tom Healy told the INTO conference “societies should not spare on investment in the early years”.

Children need protection from ‘tax-cutting mania’, says Nevin institute director

ASTI general secretary Pat King is due to retire at the end of the year, and a plan is afoot to appoint his successor through a plebiscite of members. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

The ASTI seems to be taking its cue from the famous Millwall football chant ‘No one likes us, we don’t care’

About 38 per cent of the 1,100 respondents in a survey of lecturers at institutes of technology said the additional hours had a ’very high’ impact on stress levels

Lecturers say two hours teaching added to workload equals six hours actual work

The State Examinations Commission is critical of a number of practices, including poor record keeping. Photograph: The Irish Times

Report on Leaving Cert Applied reveals inappropriate level of guidance in some schools

The conferences of the INTO, ASTI and TUI are a barometer for the state of our education system. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Studies show the single most important factor in education is the quality of teachers

Fianna Fáil spokesman on mental health, disability and special needs Colm Keaveney obtained data showing hundreds of children with special needs are awaiting support. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Promised early intervention teams have yet to materialise in Dublin

Almost three quarters of post-primary teachers surveyed by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) believe the use of technology is increasing their workload

TUI members suggest Croke Park hours should be put to better use

Minister for Education Jan O Sullivan said the money would go towards ‘vital school works’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Funding directed at ‘vital school works’ including repairs and facility upgrades

Releasing balloons to mark World Autism Day. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Youngsters forced out of education due to lack of supports, says Irish Autism Action

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar says he wants to see schools spending more time on exercise and sport as part of a review of “Well-Being” programmes in education.

New survey will be used to evaluate Relationships and Sexuality Education programme

Barry Hazel, Martin McMullin, Andrew Phelan and Fergal Greene at a recent ASTI convention: Mr Phelan says he hopes to play a more central role in influencing the union’s policies. Photograph Patrick Browne

Teacher who disrupted last year’s congress opposes ‘wearing people down with ballots’

Claire Grant of the Asti and Jimmy Kelly of the TUI at Newpark Comprehensive,  Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, during a work stoppage in January. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

ASTI says ‘any precipitous action’ by Minister for Education would escalate dispute

The ESRI report into the educational experience of children with disabilities identifies an apparent gap in resources at primary and secondary level for children with emotional, psychological and mental health problems. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

ESRI research questions whether pupils ‘receive adequate social and personal support’

Dr Charlotte Blease: would truthfulness about therapy make it less effective?

Although their work is usually helpful to patients, therapists are slow to acknowledge that there is a ‘Wizard of Oz’ element to (...)

Trinity College Dublin, along with UCD, were scored on 12 indicators, getting eight As and six As respectively. Photographer: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times

Multirank system indicates Irish universities falling behind in ‘teaching and learning’ skills

Queen’s University Belfast. Northern Ireland’s  two universities, Queen’s and Ulster University, charge lower fees for Northern students than their British counterparts.  Photograph: Alan Betson

A-Level students with three A* grades will yield 540 points – up from 450

Jan O’Sullivan: ‘In the post-primary sector more than one in three teachers are on a fixed-term or part-time contract.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Teachers recruited in 2011 to get €900 in arrears in next pay cheque

The department said there would be no changes to the variables required under the revised circular, and schools would not be required to resubmit any data.

Department of Education backtracks on plans to keep data until 30th birthday

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan announced details of the revised plan on Thursday at a seminar with school management bodies and other stakeholders, despite the teacher unions’ continuing industrial action and campaign of non-cooperation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister reveals details of implementation plan, saying she can’t ‘wait indefinitely’ for unions

NUI Galway has revealed a five-year strategy to become a top 200 university in global rankings by 2020, including progress on gender equality at the college. Photograph: Getty Images/ File photo

Prof Jim Browne presents five-year plan, including progress on gender equality

The first round of the Momentum programme cost €16 million, co-funded by the Government and EU, and yielded €9 million in initial savings in welfare payments.

More 50% of participants in Momentum programme were signed-off live register

Special Needs Assistants represented by Impact have voted for industrial action over what they say is the ‘fragmented’ nature of some posts. Photograph: Thinkstock

Impact members say some contracts reduced to 10 hours, leaving ‘fragmented’ posts

The Union of Students in Ireland has appointed NUI Galway graduate Kevin Donoghue as their new president. Mr Donoghue has promised to campaign for increased State investment in higher education. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

NUI Galway graduate Kevin Donoghue wants more funding for higher education

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan announced interim measure “in recognition of the length of time it will take” to introduce the new resource teacher model. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Allocation of 2.5 resource hours per child good news but ‘doesn’t go far enough’, says association

“When the State pays, it doesn’t mean that the poor subsidise the wealthy”

Even non-students benefit from higher education, argues Prof Thomas Docherty

Harold Hislop, the chief inspector of Irish schools, at the Department of Education and Science in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Department negotiator says school-based assessment needed for ‘21st century learning’

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy speaking at a student union event

Student leaders say that despite changing times some issues never go away

Lecturers at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action against a planned merger with IT Carlow under forthcoming legislation.

Union says college should be allowed to apply for university status on standalone basis

General Secretary of the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools Eileen Salmon: “We are frustrated in not being able to bring in valuable improvements in teaching and learning with the key skills.”

Unions’ protests represent a ‘backward step’ for education, says community schools group

Pals: the story of four young recruits to the 7th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during the first World War

Plus: The race for technological university status is hotting up

‘Many “nice blokes” are simply naive, and don’t know the statistical data on the poor representation of women in philosophy’

Academics are urged to acknowledge their biases and avoid the ‘nice bloke’ trap

Tony McCoy returns after his last ride at Cheltenham. Photograph:  Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

McCoy in thankful mood as he exits Cheltenham with body bruised but intact

Fr Michael Drumm, chairperson  of the Catholic Schools Partnership (CSP). The CSP has just published new guidelines for religious teaching in Catholic schools. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Catholic Schools Partnership advises schools on how to be inclusive towards other beliefs

Second year students at Coláiste Mhuire, Askeaton, Co Limerick  took part in a Critical Thinking Module for Junior Cycle Students. Photo: Don Moloney/Press 22

A cornerstone of proposed school reform is to get pupils thinking critically and creatively. But how can that be done?

Athlone Institute of Technology: “The critical thing for all of us is we don’t end up with a three-tier structure instead of the two-tier structure we have at the moment,” said president of Athlone IT and chairman of the IT umbrella group Prof Ciarán Ó Catháin. File photograph: Joe St Leger

As technological universities emerge, new lobby group plans to look at wider issues

 CAO 2015  first preference statistics show that demand for construction and engineering courses continues to rise. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Construction and engineering courses also see a significant rise in applicants

A new  survey conducted by Amárach Research has found that almost a third of parents  rarely or never monitor their children’s internet use at home. Photograph: iStockphoto

School principals’ group urges parents to remain vigilant about cyberbullying

Jimmy Kelly, TUI secondary school teacher at Newpark Comprehensive School in Blackrock, picketing in January against planned junior cycle reforms. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Schools are being briefed on preposed reforms but the teachers’ unions haven’t given their consent. How will that work?

Pat King, general secretary of the ASTI. The secondary teachers union is to consider a motion at its annual congress on whether to open discussions on a merger with the TUI. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Secondary teachers group to face motion on opening talks on joining with broader union

The sudy found that students who play one-player video games between once a month and almost every day perform better in mathematics, reading, science and problem solving, on average, than students who play one-player games every day. Photograph: Getty Images

Gender analysis of test scores suggests girls suffer from ‘low confidence’ in maths

Whereas girls tend to embrace learning for its own sake, boys want to know what’s in it for them – be it access to the games console, or some other prize

Analysis: Parents of girls should fight their own gender biases, OECD report suggests

NUI Maynooth: Aims to give school-leavers more flexibility in their study options

Joint arts and science degree will be the first of its type in Ireland

Early Childhood Ireland, which represents service providers in the childcare sector, has said the  use of primary school buildings as a low-cost solution for childcare would amount to a “band aid approach” to a serious capacity problem. File photograph:  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD had proposed schools be used for ‘low-cost’ after-school care

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan: “They have to make this happen for themselves.”  Photograph: The Irish Times

Bill requiring merger of institutes seeking designation to be published after Easter

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan: Welcomed the official launch of, an online support service for teachers undertaking the new junior cycle framework. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan objects to disruption as bargaining chip in talks

‘That religion is back on the political stage has much to do with its power to build communities and provide blueprints for action.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

Ideologies have a power to build communities; that’s why they endure, says philosopher Alexandra Grieser

Jan O’Sullivan: move to limit past-pupil quota

Angry middle-class parents have been bombarding the Minister for Education with letters

Jan O Sullivan: ‘We cannot continue to negotiate forever,’ she said at the Labour Party conference in Killarney. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Unions may consider further strike action after Minister rebuffs plea for more talks

A culture of “low expectations” and a limited supply of appropriate training courses have been identified as key barriers to people with intellectual disabilities entering further education. Photograph: Getty Images.

Structural barriers and ‘low expectations’ block those with intellectual disabilities

The Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has already watered down the plan of her predecessor Ruairí Quinn, proposing just 40 per cent of the new junior cycle certificate would come from school-based assessment. Photograph: Eric Luke

Analysis: Cooperation with junior cycle plan may be used as a bargaining chip

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has declined to say whether teachers refusing to implement the junior cycle reforms will be disciplined. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Jan O’Sullivan declines to say if teachers will be disciplined for lack of cooperation

Children at play in St  John the Evangelist National School, Adamstown, Co Dublin. More than 90% of pupils in the school in the 2013- 14 school year were of immigrant origin. Photograph: The Irish Times

Policymakers have a responsibility to plan for all children. They could learn from Finland

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said the department would continue to roll out reform of the junior cycle curriculum regardless of the teachers’ decision. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tensions escalate within unions as ASTI and TUI hold meeting on industrial action

Tralee Institute of Technology: “We will not require additional efficiencies in order to meet these costs,” a joint statement for the Kerry institute and the  Cork Institute of Technology says

Institutes move to reassure staff over university bid amid union balloting

 Abbot of Glenstal Abbey Mark Patrick Hederman: “In Ireland at any rate, the child is the very last item in the pecking order.” Photo: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Negativity from Government and teacher unions ‘numbing’, says Mark Patrick Hederman

Dr Pauric Travers, who drew up a compromise plan. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Unions taken aback at department’s refusal to hold further talks

Labour TD Joanna Tuffy, who chairs the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection, has  called for a rethink of the “divestment” policy in education. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Labour TD says having wider choice of patrons the ‘direct opposite of education being inclusive’

Richard Dawkins, who appeared at the Burke theatre, Trinity College on Tuesday at an event organized by the Origins Project Dialog in which they discuss Randomness and Uncertainty. Photograph: Fergal Phillips

‘You have to write off those people’ who put the Bible ahead of science, author says

Long-promised reform is materialising in the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill, which will require school admissions policies to be “inclusive” and will outlaw discrimination on racial, religious or disability grounds. File photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Education Act 1998 means schools can draw up their own admissions policies

Green giant: University College Cork

Criteria include the preservation of lawns and forests, use of energy-efficient appliances, waste recycling, environmental course (...)

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