Controversial religion questions on student teacher exam

I sent in this article to several newspapers last week, but none published it. So I’m publishing it here for the record. A sample examination test for trainee primary teachers taking religion as a subject includes questions which require the student to agree that ‘atheist humanism produced the worst horrors history has ever witnessed.’ Another […]

Concern at post-graduate cutbacks

The director general of the statutory body charged with funding basic science research has expressed his concern at proposals to abolish funding for postgraduate students. Dr Graham Love was speaking at the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Summit in Athlone, an annual event bringing together researchers funded by the body to carry out basic scientific research […]

Stop the presses

Irish schools should abandon textbooks in favour of online educational content, says Fergus O’Dowd, FG education spokesman. “Texas and California are investigating the use of ‘open source textbooks’, providing approved digital texts online, written by educational experts such as retired teachers but made available for free or at a discounted price for printed versions,” he […]

Going Up

Mark Coughlan does a good job outlining the events of the past week, with reports in the papers apparently confirming grade inflation. Coincidentally, I was googling on the topic around the same time Mark was writing his article. My working theory was that this was not a new problem (few things are in Ireland) only […]

Learning How The System Works

I had an interesting conversation with some (mostly Fianna Fáil, some Labour) local activists at the Kildare County Council election count yesterday. We started with the BNP results in the UK, and I mentioned that it seemed to be due to Labour voters staying at home. Apparently the BNP vote is actually down, but Labour […]

Sign of the Times

Yesterday I posted edited extracts from a review of ‘Chaos and Conspiracy’ in a shameless bid to promote the book to anyone who happens to be reading out there. The review appeared in last Saturday’s edition of the Irish Independent, under the headline ‘The rumour-mill that tore the soul out of an Irish country town’. […]

Creating Realities

Among cynical observers of the political process, it’s known as getting your retaliation in first. Create the perception of a threat to something you cherish, declare your support with fervour, issue rallying cries against the strawman you have carefully built, and declare victory when a puzzled opposition confirms that no, there were never any plans […]