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It was inevitable that it would eventually dawn on our education minister how poorly educated our school leavers were, even after a spell at secondary level, and he is going to have a go at correcting it.
He has decided to jettison the Junior Cert exam and replace it with his solutions on how to camouflage the problem. Mr Quinn is acting with the skills of a qualified duffer by transferring the assessment of pupils’ ability from an independent body back in to the teachers’ hands. There the age old Irish problem of cronyism will dictate who passes and who fails. To generate improvement in one education system, Mr Quinn has to start at primary level, paying particular attention to the ‘3Rs’ ie reading, writing and arithmetic, as he builds from one level to the next.
Mr Quinn should realise the value of forcing children to memorise what they are being taught and it is up to the teachers to ensure that this happens and if they cannot, sack them. The system of concentrating the ‘3Rs’ at primary level broadens the scope of the fertile brains of the young.
It is no good moving children in to upper level classes when their ability is flawed from maths being missed out at lower levels. We even have adults who cannot do simple arithmetic or spell simple words. Pupils in primary schools spend more time sticking bits of coloured paper to the windows than memorising the times tables or learning how to spell.
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