Originally Posted by deise go deo
It's ment to be eye catching, and it is what the thread is about, what is the point of education, what is it for, developing the individual or to benefit the economy.
It seems to me, OP, that you're setting up a false dichotomy here. Why make a choice between "developing the individual" and "benefitting the economy"? Surely rounded, developed individuals benefit the economy?
Since its inception, the Irish state has used its public schools to inculcate a de Valerean nationalistic and religious agenda. The objective has been to create citizens who are Irish-speaking, patriotic, and God-fearing, if not necessarily well educated (in 2000, the World Bank reported that 23 percent of the Irish adult population was functionally illiterate).
The biases in the curriculum are easy to see. According to the OECD report Education at a Glance 2011
, Irish 9 to 11-year-olds spend 10 percent of their total compulsory instruction time on religion, the second-highest figure in the OECD, after Israel. The same students spend just 4 percent of their time studying science. Ireland is also the only EU member state that does not make a foreign language compulsory at any level of education, transparently so that most if not all language education resources can be devoted to compulsory Irish. Meanwhile, maths standards have slipped to the point where PISA 2009 ranked Ireland 26th out of 34 OECD countries for maths ability. Just one student in six now takes higher-level maths for the Leaving Cert.
The basis of the school curriculum should be teaching English, maths, science, and foreign languages to very high standards, those being the skills that translate into good jobs, entrepreneurship, productivity, and international integration, as well as (yes) cultural development and personal fulfillment.