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Labour Blog

Saturday morning - Tom Johnson Summer School

Posted on June 15, 2013 at 02:44 PM


In our latest blog post from the Tom Johnson Summer School, Labour Youth member Shane Folan writes about this morning's panel 'Preparing our Young People for the future - Rethinking education'. We'll have more shortly. 

The first panel on the Saturday morning was on the topic of Preparing our Young People for the Future – Rethinking Education. John Lyons TD opened up the discussion. He outlined what he felt should be the next steps for the education system here in Ireland; in particular the third level system. He felt university courses should be more skill based in conjunction with the class time that students would normally face. This system is used quite heavily in DCU, and has proved successful in numerous cases.

Prof. Noirin Hayes was the next speaker, focusing mainly (but not exclusively) on the Early education of a child. What struck me in particular was that how much the state still has to do in terms of helping to care for our newest citizens. What was also quite interesting about her contribution was her criticism of the government striving for the “Scandinavian Model” as the minister for Education had mentioned before, but rather the model in New Zealand, stating that our relative size and population would make it much easier to implement, and would yield more positive effects. 

Dr Peter Archer was the next speaker, and his contribution again had quite a thought provoking contribution, but the part that stood out was his criticism of the Leaving Cert, stating that the way we treat the students in their exams has a negative effect on creativity, and hampers further critical thinking. This point is of course particularly relevant, considering thousands of students are surrently sitting state exams. 

Dr Geraldine Mooney Simmie was our last speaker of the panel, had many fantastic points about what type of education we should strive for our children, and really drove home the point that an education that’s based solely on getting one specific job is not a full education at all, but rather we should equip our young people to have the skills to choose their future. This is something that I personally think we should follow through.


All in all it was an incredibly fascinating panel to start off our Saturday morning here in Cork, and left us with many new ideas, and started a fierce discussion afterwards amongst the attendants. It certainly whetted our appetites for the discussions that will go on throughout the weekend.


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