Some advice for the Minister of Education


  1. Positive action to eliminate the postcode effect with respect to access to third level education. (Resource dependent.)
  2. Massive expansion of the “apprenticeship” system so that students can access the professions without having to go to university. Find a word other than “apprenticeship”!
  3. Winding down of private schools and separation of religion from education. Model the secondary system on the primary system.
  4. Leave the primary school sector alone. It’s excellent.
  5. Establish a permanent link between the third level sector and the second level sector.
  6. Disband the NCAA and create a new organisation that is more evidence-driven and less ideological.
  7. Conduct a forensic audit of third level expenditure.
  8. Put the HEA in real charge of HE and side-line the DES.
  9. Review the structure of leaving cert exams and establish if continuous assessment would be a better approach for certain question types, while limiting CA to 25%.
  10. Rewrite the subject specifications for the Junior cert and provide a real curriculum. Emphasise knowledge and make the bloody things a bit more inspiring!
  11. Incentivise academics to engage with the second level sector, especially Deis schools and FE colleges.
  12. Examine the corporatisation of universities and address the fundamental question, “what are universities for?” Just spell out what you think!
  13. Appoint good advisors, ones who know that Finland is not Edutopia or that 21st century skills is a ridiculous concept.
  14. Don’t believe the hype.

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