HERE in Ireland, we tend to take the ability to read and write for granted. After all, we have produced some of the world’s finest writers and we have a long tradition of literacy.
But such complacency is misplaced as one in 10 children leave Irish primary schools with serious literacy difficulties.
In disadvantaged schools, this figure rises to one in three, according to Suas, the education development charity that works with schools to boost literacy rates.
These are not just shocking statistics but a challenge to parents, educators, the Government, and anyone who cares about literacy to ensure that children do not grow up without learning basic literacy skills.
We also have a problem with numeracy. Last year, researchers at University of Limerick found the mathematical ability of students entering higher education declined significantly between 2003 and 2013.
Their findings indicated that the transition to Project Maths, described by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment as “an exciting, dynamic development in Irish education”, coincided with a decline in performance of the basic mathematical skills.
This suggests that the national strategy to improve literacy and numeracy, which was launched in 2011, is clearly not working. A review of our education system and its failures is urgently needed.
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