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Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Wholesale education reform Ireland

RTE teachers union conference round-up

Hearing that teacher union conference season was coming up I checked the ASTI,INTO and TUI websites for motions to conference, there are few there but no mention of religion or wholesale education reform.

We had to depend on David Quinn and John Walshe to inject and reform religion into the conferences.

Bishops seek religion veto on teachers in new schools

Parents demand right to pick schools for children

David Quinn is desperately trying to create a particular conflict between state and parents that doesn't exist. I wrote more about it here when he brought it up a second time his his drivel column. The RED C poll he bought says 48% percent don't want catholic schools, he claims that 47% want catholic run schools but I doubt they want to pay for them all themselves, thus the state takes the taxes and redistributes the money in a more equatable way including setting up secular schools that suit most people.

In the RTE interview the bishop says he wants church vetted catholic teachers to teach Catholicism to primary school children during the school day, but as the interview points out as opposed to secondary schools there's only one teacher per class in primary school,so are they suggesting they've had to employ a Jewish Muslim orthodox, bahai, Hindu, Baptist, protestant teacher for each school? but hey it'llprobably end being Catholic teacher won't it.

Church Vetting

“When a post is advertised for a teacher of religion, an interview board is set up, usually made up of five people. If the post is for a teacher of religious education, the patron has a right to have one nominee on the board. That is not a veto but an input” he said.

How could this possibly work in a diverse school?

Mary Hanafin the Minster for Education and the church keep saying they want to provide schools that cater for every creed but its clear that she and the Bishop are continuing to presume privilege for Catholicism in Irish schools.

Also John Carr of INTO is asked 3 times in the RTE interview whether denominational religion should be taught during the compulsory school day in the new style VEC's or outside like ET schools, he never answers clearly either way.

The teachers have chosen to raise one important issue that is which would be benefit to them and students the reneging on promised class sizes reductions.

But where's is the call from the unions for wholesale education reform, tinkering around the edges won't solve the problems. Some might say that there is more important things in schooling in Ireland then arguing about the half-hearted religious education they get nowadays but so many of the problems stem from the abdication of responsibility by the state. From water charges (cos the schools are private rather the public buildings) to underfunding, to employment contracts, BOMs, liability, to lack of schools for new populations etc, etc.

Forum to study how primary schools are managed

So Hanafin has announced a one day forum to review management structures...,Does she think they have it sorted in a couple of hours?

Where are the green and white papers, the Oireachtas committees, the Bills of legislation being drafted debated in the Seanad and Dail the public meetings the manifesto proposals for local elections?

The pilot VEC schools are moving ahead because of the desperate need and none lack of specific legislation on this shouldn't delay them but where is the democratic and political processes that are needed to change this twisted system!?

As an knowledgeable commentator says in reference to lazy claim in the Indo editorial

Quote: "Even atheists acknowledge the splendid role played by the Irish Catholic Church in education over the decades."

Quote: Ahem, I'm an atheist and I object to that outrageous statement. The Irish national school system was originally setup to be non-denominational and treat all children as equals. It was gradually taken over by the various churches, including the catholic church. This was not out of charity, but to monopolise education to ensure that undesirable ideas, like women's liberation, were not taught.

Posted by Kevin Byrne

There still this inexplicable softness towards the spiteful Hanafin, Sean Moloney said on Newstalk that education system was a 'victim of its own success' which is similar to how Frank Fahey said Irish traffics jams were a 'sign of success'?. No they are sign of lack of forward planning, while the Irish education system does seem to be capable of teaching most how to read and write and add its creaking at the seems for decades.

Now Hanafin tells us there an economic downturn and there is not as much money available while some schools have probably been waiting (in prefabs) for improvements during the 10 year boom and before it.

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