Oct 12 2010

Reforming Second Level Education in Ireland

Category: Second LevelTeknovis @ 12:43

I was interested to hear that the seven Universities in Ireland will start to award bonus marks to students for taking the highest level of Maths in the Leaving Certificate. Under this new plan students would get an additional 25 points, which is out of a maximum 600. For more information see Bonus points for higher level Maths.

My first impression is that this is a great idea, because it should encourage the uptake of Maths. I think that this country really needs to refocus on Science and Technology in order to remain in the global market. However, it does seem unfortunate that most of the University courses that require high points do not require an ability in Maths (I am thinking of Law, Dentistry, …).

There are also a few additional changes that should be made to second level education:

  • Make all Leaving Certificate subjects optional from the school or State’s point of view. Students have the life skills by the time they do the Junior Certificate, so let the Leaving Certificate be about specialisation and choice.
  • Make Irish optional in secondary school. In the global economy, and especially in difficult economic times, students should be allowed to choose the subjects that will give both them, and the country, the best chance of success. Yes, it is great to enforce “dead culture”, but I think that most people prefer jobs and income!
  • Let the Universities introduce more specific course requirements. For example, Physics could become mandatory for entering an engineering degree. This would enable the Universities to build upon the Leaving Certificate education, rather than having to repeat it for those who choose other subjects.

Unfortunately, I doubt that any of these ideas will ever come into practice due to the slow speed that our education system. Additionally, it seems to me that teachers are against all change unless they are financially compensated.