The end of (compulsory) history


Sir, – The suggestion of removing history from the Junior Cert as a compulsory subject demonstrates an amazing misunderstanding of what education is. High quality education should “lead out” the mind to the full development of its potential. It is not primarily for the economic development of our society.

As we all know, adopted people have a deep need to know about their origins to help them understand who they are, so communities and countries have a need to know themselves if they are to have the self-confidence to function effectively in the wider context of the world.

Learning the histories of other peoples is crucial if we are to understand each other better and so come to effective ways of living together in constructive communities. Ignorance and isolation are sure routes to disaster.

Being a scientist, I appreciate full well the importance of science to the development of current societies at all levels and how important good science will be to the solving of so many serious problems the human race is storing up for itself. But to focus on science to the exclusion of subjects which bear so heavily on who and what we are will ultimately make worse the problems science is meant to solve. – Yours, etc,


Dublin Road,

Shankill, Dublin 18.