Wednesday 28 October 2009

The Three 'R's

Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are still pretty much the basis of education. Without a good grasp of these three a student is going to struggle with more complex concepts such as computing, science, philosophy or literature. And without a good grasp of the three 'R's a person is going to be a less productive and versatile member of society.

It has become widely accepted in recent times that the future health of a country's economy and civil society is partly dependent on the quality of its education system. This is why most countries spend large parts of their public expenditure on education, and agonise over standards in education.

The OECD provides comparative data for their member states and for a larger number of 'partner countries' as part of their Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This is a "triennial survey of the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds" that focuses on science, reading and maths. The latest survey was in 2006 and showed the following results in respect of Ireland (26 counties) and the UK:
  1. Rank of countries/economies on the science scale

    Both the UK and Ireland "statistically significantly above the OECD average", with the UK at place 12 and Ireland at place 15.

  2. Rank of countries/economies on the reading scale

    Ireland "statistically significantly above the OECD average" at place 5, but the UK "not statistically significantly different from the OECD average" at place 14.

  3. Rank of countries/economies on the mathematics scale

    Both Ireland and the UK "not statistically significantly different from the OECD average", with Ireland at place 17 and the UK at place 22.
So the supposed benefits of 'the union' for Northern Ireland's kids are not very clear at all. On two out of three rankings the south outperforms the UK – in reading quite significantly.

The OECD provides copious tables containing the data that these rankings are based upon, and in some cases they provide regional data. In some cases this appears to show Northern Ireland outperforming England and Wales. So the real situation for Northern Ireland's kids may be closer to their counterparts in the south. Why then does unionism continue to shackle them to underperforming countries like England, Wales and Scotland, whose lower standards can only drag Northern Ireland down?

It would be in everyone's interests – but especially the kids – if they were educated to the same standards north and south. The south has shown that its education system is better than Britain's, but for purely ideological reasons unionists insist on keeping the north within the UK. In this case, as in others, a rational person would reject 'the union' and work for closer integration between the north and the south.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Or then again perhaps not:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/eric-waugh/why-protestant-schools-pose-a-test-of-the-republics-democracy-14529194.html

Anonymous said...

The south has shown that its education system is better than Britain's, but for purely ideological reasons unionists insist on keeping the north within the UK.

Get yer stuff right. The pupils on the island Britain are for a very large part children from a migration background. This can simply not be let out of the picture. That for a very large part is responsible for the difference. Birmingham isn't exactly dragging up the average is it? It's not the system, that's broken, the pupils are to a large degree.

Horseman said...

Anonymous,

'Your stuff' is very wrong, of course. If you read this week's economist you'll see why. Its subscription only now, so I cannot link to the article (on 'poor whites' in GB), but here's a cup'n'paste - I recommend you to go and read the whole thing:

"Some white successes look less certain on closer scrutiny. Though white children in general do better than most minorities at school, poor ones come bottom of the league (see chart). Even black Caribbean boys, the subject of any number of initiatives, do better at GCSEs, the exams that pupils take at 16 or so."

The chart shows that, of pupils receiving free school meals, 'white British' score worst of all - after Asians, Africans, 'other white' and caribbean kids.

Blaming immigrants is an old racist ploy, but not correct, of course. Education in GB is crap because of a wide variety of reasons - and the fact that unionists still cling to this increasingly backward country is a simple mystery.

SocialistIreland said...

I think you're all ignoring the elephant in the room. It's not about religion or race, it's about class. Ireland (north and south), is set up to advance the interests of the ruling classes and the plutocrats. It is in the interests of these people to keep the educational standards of the oppressed workers down in order that a pool of unskilled labour is permanently available for exploitation. Why would the exploiting class in Ireland or England want to educate a future leadership of the proletariat? It would be against their class interests to do so and will not happen within the current corrupt system.

Mack said...

That's nonsense SocialistIreland. 57% of our (the south) school kids go on to third level and rising (compared with 30-odd% in the north). It's difficult to think of any tasks currently performed by unskilled labour that could not be replaced by a combination of more productive skilled labour and technology.

----

Anon -

"Or then again perhaps not:"

It's difficult to paint that as anti-Protestant discrimination. Since the founding of the state they (private Protestant schools) have been treated as a special case - eligible for additional funding not available to other schools. It would be disappointing to see this funding removed, but it's important to view it in the context of a massive fiscal crisis that means a lot of special interest funding is being cut. Hopefully, this decision will be reversed.

Anonymous said...

Don't they have basically Catholic schools there as their main school type?

Great - how progressive. [Rolls eyes].

bangordub said...

Hi again Andy

Anonymous said...

> Don't they have basically Catholic schools there as their main school type?

No they don't. Many schools were run by religious orders in the past but an overwhelming majority are entirely secular in terms of the staff composition. This has been the case for many years.

I went to a "Catholic" school. It meant that I had one hour a week of "religion" and that was it. And that was about morality and the like, not Catholocism.

Anonymous said...

You went to a Catholic school - was that the main type of school in your country?

Mack said...

Anon-

"You went to a Catholic school - was that the main type of school in your country?"

There is no 'main' type of school, parents are free to send their children wherever they want. There are Catholic Schools, Protestant Schools, Educate Together Schools, non-demonitional VECs & Vocational Schools, Gaelscoileanna, Private (Fee paying) Schools, Grind Schools etc..

They seem to work quite well in terms of educational attainment. 57% go on to third level.

Anonymous said...

Basically lets be honest - catholic schools are the main type. And its not a good situation.

Anonymous said...

I pointed out the cultural un/importance of going to a Catholic school -- which involved 1 hour of "religion" (religious studies) per week; the school was not exclusively Catholic.

It was Catholic in the sense that it was owned by a religious order and some of the teachers were men of the cloth. Their salaries were paid by the state and donated to the school. They gave their lives for pocket money, in effect. Now they are extinct and this is true, by and large across the country as religious vocations have declined and schools have reverted to the state and local communities.

Your assertion that Catholic schools are the main type is fairly meaningless if not flat out wrong. There are Catholic schools in the sense that there are Irish language schools, but they are a very small number. The rest are rather ordinary schools in which people who happen to be Catholics are educated.

Let's face it, if the schools in the ROI do a better job, which they manifestly do, you have to find fault by stereotyping them as "Catholic schools" and suggesting that is is "not a good situation." In fact, the higher standard of living and the ever increasing gap with the UK is a very acceptable situation indeed.

Horseman said...

Anonymous (on 29 October 2009 08:37) said...

"You went to a Catholic school - was that the main type of school in your country?"

I'm not certain which country you are referring to, but for clarity you should take into account that Catholic schools are the 'main type' (ie modal type) of school in Northern Ireland (too?).

At primary level there are 402 Catholic maintained schools - more than the 391 'controlled' primaries. If you include Irish -medium schools as 'catholic' in ethos (dubious), then Catholic ethos schools are an absolute majority.

At secondary level there are 72 Catholic Maintained - again more than the 61 Controlled.

And amongst Grammar schools the 30 under Catholic management outnumber the 22 under 'other' management and the 17 controlled.

In terms of numbers, of course (as this blog has often pointed out) there are more Catholics in school than Protestants.

Mack said...

Anon -

"Basically lets be honest - catholic schools are the main type."

I'm begining to suspect some poor village has lost it's idiot, but I'll take that comment at face value.

If you mean that the Catholic sector is the largest single sector, then that is probably true. It is also true of Northern Ireland. If you mean parents must send their kids to Catholic schools, then you are mistaken.

"And its not a good situation"

Given their record of academic excellence, coupled with parental choice, why not?

SocialistIreland said...

Catholic schools have incubated militant Nationalism (not Republicanism) down the years, which has caused so much pain in Ireland.

They have also fostered a climate of subservience to Catholic clerics which allowed the systematic rape of Catholic children to take place on a level never seen elsewhere (even in other Catholic countries).

Why the hell should The Irish state be paying the salaries of any cleric?

hoboroad said...

The Shoukri brothers went to Lagan College a so called intergrated school. I wonder where they picked up there anti-catholic hatred? Not from a catholic mother and an Arab Christian father.

Mack said...

SocialistIreland -

So you have an issue with both one of the most popular religions in the state and liberty itself (freedom for citizens to make their own choices, such as how they worship and where their children go to school).

Sounds like you'd be at home in everyones favorite failed state - Soviet Russia!

hoboroad said...

Yes and SocialistIreland only hates one Faith in Ireland. Or maybe he is one of these extreme leftists who hates Islam as well. You know the type who hangs out at A Tangled Web nice try Andy.

Anonymous said...

Mack

The Catholic sector you think is only POSSIBLY the main sector? So much spin. Too little time.

Mack said...

Anon -

There is no such thing as the 'main' sector, one sector may be bigger than another, but that is about it. And as you have been informed, very, very few schools are actually run by clergy these days (a tiny minority). We live in a free country, where parents are free to choose the type of education there children want.

Is it sensible to talk about the main type of food?

How about the main type of jacket or shoes?

There is no spin, it doesn't bother met that you have an issue with Catholism of religious education. We simply prefer freedom to loony-communist-minority enforced notions about what kind of schools parents should be able to send their children too.

SocialistIreland said...

Mack said:

"So you have an issue with both one of the most popular religions in the state and liberty itself (freedom for citizens to make their own choices, such as how they worship and where their children go to school).

Sounds like you'd be at home in everyones favorite failed state - Soviet Russia!"

My position as regards The Catholic Faith is that it should not be allowed ANY say in any state institution. What people people do privately is up to them. Do you not realise that Ireland has in many ways mimicked Franco's Spain in it's perverse and unhealthy relationship with this religion?

By the way, I'm a democratic socialist, not a state capitalist.

Anonymous said...

I quite agree that RoI and NI should have an integrated and standardised educational system. Horseman writes: '...The south has shown that its education system is better than Britain's, but for purely ideological reasons unionists insist on keeping the north within the UK [education system]. In this case, as in others, a rational person would reject "the union" and work for closer integration between the north and the south.' There it is in a nutshell. A fully integrated, standardised all-Ireland education system makes excellent sense and one would hope that such a system would only advance both Irish states in the OECD ratings and, possibly, even be a spur to Britain to achieve greater scholastic success in primary and secondary education instead of having a British education system that seems quite incapable of producing fully literate children (and so, fully literate adults), which is what the UK has got at present. It has been said so often but it is true, British standards of education have indeed declined and declined dramatically over the period of the last generation. I'd be prepared to give NI the benefit of the Irish education system so at least that part of the United Kingdom is not dragged down by a British education system that seems to be in perennial and perpetual decline.

Mack said...

SocialistIreland -

By the way, I'm a democratic socialist, not a state capitalist.

Well, if you ever achieve your utopia, that means that capitalist political parties (from across the spectrum from progressive to free market) can continue that's fair enough. Eventually the electorate will be able to vote in parties that will undo the economic damage socialism inevitably causes. Soviet Russia was not state capitalist by the way.

My position as regards The Catholic Faith is that it should not be allowed ANY say in any state institution

I sort of agree with this, but with limitations. State institutions are funded by taxpayers - and taxpayers absolutely must have the freedom to make choices about the services that are supplied to them. If some want schools run with a Catholic ethos - then that is fine, as long as those that want other types of schools have access to those too.

Having contributed tax Euros to pay for their child's education, it is right that parents be allowed to choose which schools get funding. The Swedish model appears particularly enlightened - mixing the best of the free market & progressive economics.

SocialistIreland said...

Anonymous said:

"I quite agree that RoI and NI should have an integrated and standardised educational system. Horseman writes: '...The south has shown that its education system is better than Britain's, but for purely ideological reasons unionists insist on keeping the north within the UK [education system]. In this case, as in others, a rational person would reject "the union" and work for closer integration between the north and the south.' There it is in a nutshell. A fully integrated, standardised all-Ireland education system makes excellent sense and one would hope that such a system would only advance both Irish states in the OECD ratings and, possibly, even be a spur to Britain to achieve greater scholastic success in primary and secondary education instead of having a British education system that seems quite incapable of producing fully literate children (and so, fully literate adults), which is what the UK has got at present. It has been said so often but it is true, British standards of education have indeed declined and declined dramatically over the period of the last generation. I'd be prepared to give NI the benefit of the Irish education system so at least that part of the United Kingdom is not dragged down by a British education system that seems to be in perennial and perpetual decline."

More middle class ranting. Do you really think that ordinary working class people in the north want to subject their kids to the abuse of a Catholic dominated system? Even those Catholic workers in the north have the security of knowing that the state is keeping an eye on the rapist priests and, of course, there are plenty of decent Protestants (especially working class women) who won't turn a blind eye to the fate of Catholic children. Can this be said in the south? It's a none starter mate.

Mack said...

SocialistIreland

" Can this be said in the south? It's a none starter mate."

I'm not convinced you know a whole lot about the south?

SocialistIreland said...

Mack said:

"I sort of agree with this, but with limitations. State institutions are funded by taxpayers - and taxpayers absolutely must have the freedom to make choices about the services that are supplied to them. If some want schools run with a Catholic ethos - then that is fine, as long as those that want other types of schools have access to those too."

I'm sorry mate, but I can never agree to that. I have always been deeply concerned about the fascistic relationship between The Irish State and The Catholic Church, but the truth has staggered even me. I can not and will not agree to children being placed under the control of any Catholic grouping and being exposed to the vilest of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. And remember, it was Irish politicians that looked the other way whilst it was happening. May they all rot in hell.

Mack said...

SocialistIreland -

The events you're speaking off occurred, mostly in Industrial Schools, a long time ago. The clergy have much less influence within Catholic schools today and a fraction of the influence within society at large. The schools Horseman is blogging are very different. And of course, you don't have to send your children to a Catholic school.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Schools_in_Ireland

Anonymous said...

As I said------ SocialistIreland=Andy/watcher/malestripper etc.

MPG .....

Anonymous said...

http://www.irishnews.com/articles/540/606/2009/10/28/631153_398354108410Republicw.html

At the above link, BRIAN FEENEY says that the Republic is DELIBERATELY CREATING A COLD HOUSE for protestants in its education system.

Anonymous said...

Feeney concludes (in his column today):

"In the aftermath of the archbishop’s remarks almost every newspaper in the Republic published an editorial calling for special efforts to be made to continue funding Protestant schools.

Some leader writers did point out what seems to have escaped O’Keeffe, namely that the message he is sending northern Protestants is that the Republic’s government makes no bones about wilfully creating a cold house for its minority community."

Anonymous said...

The Republic's government doesn't give a toss about what northern Prods think, as they're never going to be answerable to them.

Mack said...

Well, if Brian Feeney says it must be true..

In all likelihood this is simply part of the campaign to get the government to reverse this cut. Now imagine that, Irish nationalists campaigning for funding for Protestant schools - how nakedly sectarian, let's not work with them!

Anonymous said...

Is the school system in Eire Public or Catholic?

Mack said...

Anon -

There are a range of different school types. Including denominational schools (chiefly Catholic and Protestant with Protestant schools tending to be government funded private schools), non-denominational schools (VECs and vocational colleges), specific Educate Together Schools, Irish language schools and other types (exam specific grind schools, private fee paying schools etc).

Anonymous said...

Anon - basically its a Catholic system. Yee there are other schools but the vast majority are Catholic schools.

Anonymous said...

This SocialistIreland plonker is a little tiresome. I heard this kind of drivel about class war outside the Central Bank in Dublin 30 years ago, week-in and week-out. The Soviet empire has fallen. Vietnam and China have become capitalist societies, albeit with one party government still, but it seems that some people have yet to smell the coffee.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what percentage of Eire go to Catholic schools and also if not Catholic schools what percentage are exposed at school to Catholicism?

Also are there any prodestants in the Eire?

Anonymous said...

I would guestimate that 80%+ are C

Some protstants have to travel many miles.

While blacks and ethnic minorities also have a hard time.

Anonymous said...

This has to be a wind up!

Andy=watcher=anon look in before you look out. The pot and the kettle and all that.

There is a river in ......

MPG .....

Mack said...

Anon -

Some protstants have to travel many miles.

Where there is demand for a type of school, a school will exist to meet that demand. But in rural areas with small numbers of Protestants many Protestants do have to travel large distances if they wish to attend a Protestant school (this is part of the reason many need additional funding).

While blacks and ethnic minorities also have a hard time.

You are trolling now! Compared with where? England? Northern Ireland?

Anonymous said...

'Do you really think that ordinary working class people in the north want to subject their kids to the abuse of a Catholic dominated system?'

Who said it has to Catholic dominated? A coordinated, standardised, and state-sponsored and state-run system is what I meant. It does not have to and, indeed, should not involve 'Catholic domination', as you put it, not at all. If a better educational system were found in Denmark or Sweden, I'd advocate that. What I am concerned with is what works. What you and other 'socialists' are concerned with is a lot of ideologically doctrinaire claptrap.

Anonymous said...

Blacks and ethnic minorities in Dublin were segregated by the system into a school with no non-white pupils only two years ago.

Mack said...

Blacks and ethnic minorities in Dublin were segregated by the system into a school with no non-white pupils only two years ago.

Bollocks.

Anonymous said...

Rubbish again, Andy.

Come on, back these stupid claims up with evidence!

MPG .....

Mack said...

Looks like the funding will be maintained after all..

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1030/1224257681301.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2381488.ece?pgnum=2

98% of Irish schools religious, causing a black only school for the others.

Mack said...

98% of Irish schools religious, causing a black only school for the others.

Did you actually read the article?

A new Educate Together school in a rapidly expanding suburb was set up to cope with hugely increased demand (fueled by immigration). That most of the children using the overflow school are the children of immigrants is hardly surprising, especially given that Islamic parents would probably prefer to send their children to a non-denominational Educate Together school than to a Protestant or Catholic school.

http://educatetogether.ie/

That proves the point, doesn't it? Where demand for a type of school exists, one will be set up. The only actual reasonable complaint in the article is that non-Catholics were upset about not getting into a Catholic school. So what to do anonymous? Expand the Catholic school sector to cator for our growing non-Catholic population? Or provide extra non-denominational schools?

98% of Irish schools religious

That's an exaggeration. Certainly the percentage of primary schools founded and at a high level managed by religious orders is quite high. Most are reasonably secular. There is plenty of choice for non-denominational schools at second-level

Mack said...

By the way, looking at the Educate Together website (who I think are the only providers of non-denominational English language primary schools) - it looks like they are planning on moving into the secondary sector (where the VECs and Vocational schools provide non-denominational schooling already).

Anonymous said...

"http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2381488.ece?pgnum=2

98% of Irish schools religious, causing a black only school for the others."

You obviously failed to read the article!

You are just a racist bullsh..er.

Climb back up the tree you fell out of.

MPG .....

Anonymous said...

I did read the article and what is more I was aware of this issue.

You think its great that everyone is segregated depending on religious niche etc.

Anonymous said...

What are blacks doing in Ireland? Look what has happened to Britain. Take heed.

Anonymous said...

This socialist plonker goes on and on about "rapist priests" as if they were the norm. His obsession is rather sad.

As for the sneer about what the hell the Irish state was doing paying clery anyway, let's be clear:

1. The Irish state paid university educated TEACHERS some of whom happened to be clergy.

2. In Ireland there is no established church supported by the state.

3. In Ireland there are no bishops automatically appointed to the upper chamber of the government.

4. There are no restrictions on the religion of the head of state and there have been several protestant heads of state, starting with the first.

The Irish govt is to be sneered at for paying teachers while the British prime minister appoints bishops?! SO THAT'S WHERE WE WENT WRONG!!

Anonymous said...

> What are blacks doing in Ireland? Look what has happened to Britain. Take heed.

Better a black man than an orange man any day of the week.

SocialistIreland said...

Anonymous said:

"This socialist plonker goes on and on about "rapist priests" as if they were the norm. His obsession is rather sad.

As for the sneer about what the hell the Irish state was doing paying clery anyway, let's be clear:

1. The Irish state paid university educated TEACHERS some of whom happened to be clergy.

2. In Ireland there is no established church supported by the state.

3. In Ireland there are no bishops automatically appointed to the upper chamber of the government.

4. There are no restrictions on the religion of the head of state and there have been several protestant heads of state, starting with the first.

The Irish govt is to be sneered at for paying teachers while the British prime minister appoints bishops?! SO THAT'S WHERE WE WENT WRONG!!"

This is just amazing. Once again our bourgeois nationalist friends use the old 'animal farm' tactic of pointing over the wall and talking about the disgraceful prods and/or the horrible brits instead of confronting oppression in their own land. It's been going on for decades and it's getting pretty tired. SCAPEGOATING is the name of their game, if there were no 'prods' to persecute they'd pick on some other minority. This is exactly how Nazi Germany started and it serves no one but the capitalist speculators.

Some pretty sinister types creeping onto this blog.

Anonymous said...

Anon said:

"Better a black man than an orange man any day of the week"

Why do we have to put up with the blacks or the prods???

Sure the orange has black men in it, kill two birds with one stone!!!!!!!!!!!!

LLLL0LLLL

VICTORY TO THE IRISH

Anonymous said...

"This is just amazing. Once again our bourgeois nationalist friends use the old 'animal farm' tactic of pointing over the wall and talking about the disgraceful prods and/or the horrible brits instead of confronting oppression in their own land. It's been going on for decades and it's getting pretty tired. SCAPEGOATING is the name of their game, if there were no 'prods' to persecute they'd pick on some other minority. This is exactly how Nazi Germany started and it serves no one but the capitalist speculators.

Some pretty sinister types creeping onto this blog."

Get a life idiot!(Creepy Andy)
This is the 21st century not the 19th.

Also-
Like it or not all races, colours and creeds can and will be accomodated in the new and independent Ireland.

MPG .....

Anonymous said...

Oppression in Ireland??

Oh, you mean the rapist priests? Or was it the protestant presidents?

Confused? Sling in a word like "bourgeouis" you'll sound like a revolutionary intellectual and everyone will be fooled. Or maybe not.

Scapegoating? You mean the way you automatically mention rapists whenever priests or the catholic church is referenced?).

The "animal farm" trick as you describe it, coming from you, is rich indeed.

Anonymous said...

Good God. I've never seen so much sock puppetry in my life as on this thread.

I fear WeightWatcher may be having a nervous breakdown, right in front of our eyes.

Anonymous said...

Is he fat? Will he remember all his aliases? Get into the right trousers?

Not just will the green socks outnumber the orange ones, they're better socks.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Andy/MPG is back.

Is MPG Hoboroad as well?

Anonymous said...

No, Hoboroad is Bangordub apparently.