Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 27/01/2014. Tags: Education And Politics Parenting Teachers
Ruairí Quinn, T.D. Minister for Education and Skills addressed the 2014 IPPN Conference last Friday. The Minister's speech (view full speech here)
covered a broad range of issues including Book Rental Schemes and Quality & Accountability. However it was the Minister’s remarks, in a response to complaints from principals who say they have difficulties covering an "overloaded curriculum", that has received most media coverage.
The recently introduced literacy and numeracy strategy requires schools to allocate 30 minutes a week to developing these skills in pupils. When asked at the Conference how teachers could find the time to deliver the programme, the Minister responded that primary schools should use time allocated for religion to focus on improving pupils' reading and maths. The Minister has suggested that religious teaching should take place within homes and parishes, rather than being the responsibility of schools.
The Minister’s remarks implying that the amount of time teaching religion in schools should be reduced, has been strongly objected to by the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP)
. The clergy said they believe Mr Quinn's stance could be perceived as an attempt to "undermine" religious schools and have described Mr Quinn's remarks as "unacceptable". “It seems at best a hapless effort to devise education policy ‘on the hoof’ and, at worst, an indication of an intention to undermine religious education in the vast majority of our schools,” the ACP said.
“The Minister’s comment will be widely interpreted as an effort to undermine religion and religious-run schools and may damage the negotiations, at present at an advanced state, to provide a wide choice for parents”.