Seanad debates

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

3:00 am

Photo of Sean BarrettSean Barrett (Independent)

I support Senator Healy Eames’s comments on education developments announced in recent times. We discussed in the House our problems with mathematics, which are very serious at second level, along our problems with what used to be called foreign languages. We also have a problem with economics in that the Wright report found that 7% of the senior staff in the Department of Finance had a qualification in economics and that showed in its performance in recent years. We need to place an emphasis on the classroom, learning and investing as early as possible in education. Over the weekend, we witnessed the obsession with structures, with calls by the head of the HEA for yet another round of restructuring. That is bureaucracy taking over from education which is what we do not need. We should have a debate in the House on real needs, where we are failing badly in mathematics and failing badly in languages, becoming a mono-lingual country. We have people in senior positions allocating billions worth of resources and without them having the proper qualifications in economics . Can we put a debate on structures aside until after we tackle the real problems in education?

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