Teacher's Pet

 

The talk of education

The greatand the good gathered last week for the release of those international rankings on primary education.

The highlight? An outstanding presentation by Eemer Eivers of the Education Research Centre at St Patrick’s in Drumcondra. The chief inspector of the Department of Education, Harold Hislop, was also impressive.

Needless to say, the INTO in its response highlighted what it called a “good news story’’ for Irish education despite those quibbles about our performance in maths and science.

Former Rose of Tralee and maths guru Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin also preferred to focus on the positives. On Twitter, she also took a cut at “certain people’’ in the media seeking easy negative headlines.

The headmasterat one of the State’s leading fee-paying schools is set to step down. Arthur Godsil of St Andrew’s in Booterstown will retire in June. Rightly lauded as one of the most forward-thinking and innovative school heads, Godsil has played a central role in the huge success of St Andrew’s . We wish him well.

That investigationinto allegations of plagiarism by the chairman of Tralee IT has received a broad welcome from most of the 28 academics at the college who signed the original letter of complain.

Flan Garvey, a former Fianna Fail mayor of Clare, has stepped down for the duration of the investigation. Three academics will examine claims in relation to the 2008 masters of arts by Garvey.

There couldbe worse ways of spending an afternoon than one spent monitoring a meeting of the Oireachtas Education Committee. But right now few come to mind.

Last week’s meeting on third-level reform was another example of how the vast potential of this committee is being squandered. Some of the committee members are excellent but the format where invited guests read aloud long statements and face an vast array of follow-up questions is not working.

One wag suggested during the week that the committee is missing a former member who was both insightful and acidic in his comments.

His name? Step forward, Ruairí Quinn.

Is therean unexpected landmine in the education budget, namely the increase in the pupil-teacher ratio for post-Leaving Cert programmes? The TUI says the change will result in the loss of 200 whole-time equivalent posts.

Michael Moriarty, the influential general secretary of the Irish Vocational Education Association, says the proposed cuts will erode its capacity to meet the demand for retraining jobseekers and other learners. Controversy about this cut, which appears to target some of the most vulnerable students, is set to build.

Teacher’s Pet is compiled by Seán Flynn. Email sflynn @irishtimes.com. Twitter : @SeanFlynnEd

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