Irish education, 1922-2007 - Cherishing all the children equally?

In Brian Fleming’s recent book he takes the commitment in the 1916 Proclamation to cherish “all the children of the nation equally” and  traces the development of policy-making in Irish education subsequently, in that context. The roles played by politicians including de Valera, Lemass and Cosgrave, together with those who have served as Minister for Education, and other parliamentarians, are outlined.  The nature of the Dept. of Education as it changed over the period is analysed.  The impact on policy formation of the Churches, Teacher Unions, Managerial Bodies, Parents’ groups, the Constitution, the Judiciary, lobby groups and the Media are all reviewed.   Evidence is supplied from official reports and otherwise to illustrate that the objective has not been achieved. Some weaknesses in the policy-making process were identified. However, the essential reason why equality of educational opportunity has not been achieved is as a result of a lack of leadership at administrative and, more particularly, political level, supported by a largely unconcerned society.

         During the research a wide range of archives, books, journals, contemporary newspapers and the private papers of some individuals were consulted. Interviews were undertaken with thirty-three individuals, consisting of senior policymakers, their advisers and others who observed the process at close quarters. These included, former Ministers for Education, retired senior department officials, leaders of teacher unions, management bodies and parents’ councils, education correspondents, and a former professor of education. Further details:

A ‘fascinating informative book’ which he would ‘highly recommend’.
(John Walshe speaking at ETBI Annual Conference).
‘This insightful book exposes a lot of hypocrisy. The Irish revolution was far from revolutionary in the field of education.’ 
(Ryle Dwyer, The Examiner, 13/08/2016).

Education History © 2017