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With the retirement of Ruairi Quinn, who tried vainly to make positive changes to the education system, problems lie ahead for the incoming minister for education. It will clearly be difficult with a highly militant and entrenched teaching profession, backed by politicians, often teachers themselves, determined not to give a centimetre, no matter how it might help their charges and so their country.
Collectively, primary school teachers do not perform their primary functions, to teach children basic education, including English and mathematics. This is obvious with most children leaving this educational stage without a ‘th’ between them and using the past participles of the verbs to see (seen) and to do (done) as past indefinites.
Our children also leave primary school with their maths levels below those of most modern countries. Primary teachers have little stress, risible teaching hours and breaks and holidays that indicate vividly why the result of their work is an abysmal failure.
Dr Dermot J O’Brien
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