WE have been engaged in self-delusion and “codding ourselves” for years, believing our education system was among the best in the world, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said yesterday.
He was speaking at the launch at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick of the National Centre for Excellence for Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL).
Other countries in the OECD had passed us out in education, he said, and the global economy was aware of this.
Mr Quinn said: “Many of us who said it, including myself, hadn’t the capacity to compare it with anything else, if the truth were known.
“We had a very good education system and will have one again, but in recent times of objective comparisons we have dropped from fifth to 17th in literacy and we have dropped similarly in science and mathematics,” he added.
“It has not just been because there has been a collapse in internal standards in our education system, it’s just that many of the competitor countries have improved dramatically and we have to improve where we were,” he said.
He said: “Education will help us achieve sustainable economic growth and quite simply, we need to raise the standards of mathematics and science.”
Mr Quinn said there was a hunger for change in the education system, which would see the introduction of different teaching methods, different assessment methods and port folio review.
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