IT-Keep funding education, urges top US diplomat … 94932.html

Am I wrong in thinking that this would be quite an unusually pointed public statement from an ambassador, let alone the acting one?
I’m not complaining, I’m glad that he has said it, particularly as it’s probably the one country our politicians will take advice from.

For me this point is a no brainer really, amazing that it has to be said IMO.

Education in Ireland(and elsewhere) is a subsidy for MNCs. Of course they (and their temp ambassadors) are for more of it. They dont pay for it, but benefit from it.

And MNCs are subsidising our income and corporation taxes via their employment and tax (ahem) efficient strategies by locating and employing here.

I say follow that mans advice !

bet the govt wont be whinging (and indeed Fg and Lab) about this “unwarranted foreign interference in our domestic affairs and telling us how to write our budget”
No, not this time…

Personally, I think a well educated work force will help us climb out of recession if we focus on developing sustainable industry too. I am less interested in MNC’s and I think they are a like a drug, and this economy would do well to break the addiction cycle. I think Ireland’s relationship with foreign investors is quite similar to the stereotypical Paddy’s relationship with his bartender. I am not saying we don’t need the MNC’s, but we need to stop relying on them.

+1… if by sustainable you mean businesses that are indigenous, that will export, and that will survive and maintain a rooted presence here in Ireland.

If by sustainable you mean green, meh, not so much… :wink:

Primarily I mean the former, but I think environmental sustainability should be factored in to all new and existing business strategy . It has to be done, and now is the time. Officially we are due to hit peak oil in 2020, although with the downturn we may get a year or so of grace (some say it is already here) so at the very least, we need to drastically reduce our dependency on oil. And we should definitely exploit our fantastic ability to create electricity from wind and wave resources. Green business in itself is not enough to keep us going, but all business can be “greened” in some way or another. I think when sustainability for the environment is at the core of the business model, it automatically makes it sustainable for Ireland.

Agree with that. I’m not a green-bug but I switch off my computer monitors etc. each evening. Applying common sense and removing laziness would go a long way towards greener credentials in my place of work, it’s amazing how many people lock their PC for the night and just let the monitors go into standby mode. Both PC and monitors still using power unnecessarily. Power of one, and all that lark!

Don’t agree with that. There’s still plenty of ways to run a business into the ground…!!! But if you reduce waste, you reduce costs. That’s a healthy thing for any business.

Anyone hear Alan Dukes and Matt Cooper last evening going on about this.

He was talking about investing in third level only as this is where we will see results first. Primary and secondary will have to wait. He said he knew that this would not be popular but felt that it was the best course of action.

I had to agree with him.

What do the pinsters think?

I think a 10-year old is capable of basic computer programming - why wait until they’re 17 to start them off…???

Dont get me wrong guys. I wouldnt like them to cut prim/secondary education. He was saying that in his opinion the recovery will come in the next few years and that we will need high grade graduates and r&d professionals for it.

I have an 8 year in school and would hate to see it spending cuts.

It just seemed to make sense to me is all.

we are so knee deep in the mire that we may have to do things like this to get us out. Afetr that plan for the longer term future. Its a tough quetstion to answer.

:laughing: :laughing:

Damn right!

We have to develop a new strategy in regards to education and how it can feed and sustain sustainable industry for Ireland. If we just start making changes to Third level, without having that strategy worked out first we run a huge risk of having piecemeal approaches to the separate levels not working. I agree that those in Third level now need support as they will be first to come out into the new economic landscape, but we also need to know what we are going to do with those leaving Secondary level in the next 2 years, and those who are choosing their leaving cert subjects in the next year or so need other options, that needs to be figured out asap.

We also need to change the way we value, and reward financially, jobs that are less “glamorous” but hugely necessary, otherwise the majority of schoolchildren will continue to aim for the careers that are the most financially rewarding. As discussed elsewhere, the majority of kids I went to school with were choosing Medicine or Law for the express reason that they would make the most money, rather than wanting to help people, let alone any other altruistic reasons. We need to encourage diversity in career choices and as most parents will admit, they’d rather encourage their children to pursue a career that will provide a good living rather than them becoming an artist or philosopher or a sanitation worker. So improving the public perception of ALL essential careers and specifically relative equality of pay, is IMO absolutely necessary, in order to create and sustain the diverse workforce needed for sustainable industry in Ireland.

Chef, the recovery will not “come”. We have to bring it.

I agree, bad turn of phrase on my part in my post.

I cant disagree with your argument either. My point is what is needed right now.


I have been in my job, paying my mortage/bills providing for family and saving for years.

Now, job gone. Do I still save at the moment at the expense of the mortage/bills providing for family or do i say saving will have to wait. The other two i have to do now.

I know its not that simple but i hope you get my drift.

Ps. Good post jelly. :laughing:

Thanks Chef :smiley:

The thing is you’re not going to decide to stop paying for your kids education now are you? As in you’re not going to take them out of school. But you do have to decide on a broad budget strategy for you and your family. You may say that the piano lessons are not essential to their prospects later in life so you can save there but decide to continue paying for extra classes in something that will improve their prospects, or even better send them to do a sort of apprenticeship with someone who has an allotment, so they can learn something that will help themselves later when they become independent, and also help your family in the immediate future, as they take charge of your veggie patch in the back garden to save you money and improve your nutritional health.
You could also invest in a bicycle now, and use it more than your car in order to save money now on petrol, but also as it will improve your health and hopefully save on future medical bills.
And you could invest in some courses for yourself in BER assessment and energy efficient improvement works, in order to assess your own home, and carry out any improvements to save you money now, and maybe have a job out of it until you get back to your chosen profession.

Cutting costs now does need to exclude strategic reasons and common sense. You are not going to stop feeding your kids because they’re small and can’t make you feed them, because obviously they will fail to thrive. If they fail to thrive and even run off on you to scavenge, you can forget about them supporting you later on. I am obviously leaving out the fact that you love them and want them to survive and be healthy. However this may be a good strategy if free Third level education is scrapped as then you won’t have to pay for them to study. :laughing:

Sorry, I don’t think I’m as clear in this post but you get my drift right?


I dont disagree with you but i know i have more to say on this. i will keep you posted.

I will await your reply on my balcony in the sun, so I can make some Vitamin D so I save on supplements, while watching the swans teach their young to fly so they can fend for themselves, which saves me on electricity for my pooter. :smiley:

I work in the further education sector and we have experienced a 23% increase in applications this year. We have held interviews for the September intake and many of the applicants were made unemployed in the last few months and wish to reskill/upskill. For those who have been let go from their jobs our courses are mainly 2 year long and are very inexpensive. For the state we run on a secondary school budget so are very cost effective.
Sadly, the Department of Education has capped Further Education places and we will simply will not be able to take all of these people on. In addition to this some of our staff only work part-time and teach very specific subjects but the reduction in staff numbers due to come into effect in september means that some of our courses cannot run as the state will not pay the wages and obviously we cannot have unqualified people teaching at this level.
This pinsters, is not a ‘boo hoo feel sorry for the teachers’ post (we are a staff of mostly permanent staff who just want to teach), but rather a further example of the gross stupidity of the government. We could take on 2000 students this year but will be capped at 1450. Instead some of those will be on job seekers, seeking jobs that are not there yet and letting their skills, motivation and confidence dwindle.

It all sounds so reasonable. Yet it is mostly bullshit. The fact that a corporate welfare scam like wind power scam has such mass appeal is a classic example of mass delusion and educational failure. Politicians love this stupid subsidy driven technology. … wind-farms

I was 9 when I first learned to program on a C-64 at home. I always felt that this was very beneficial to me all through my Life, I was 18 by the time it was introduced to me in Collage (2nd year Mechanical Engineering). Two of my brothers liked the C64 so much they are now software engineers.

I didn’t hear Alan Dukes piece. For the most part I would say he generally has some good sense.

As far as third level is concerned, I don’t think it’s a question of more money, it’s more a question of wiser spend of money. The truth is, because of some failings at second level - mainly caused by the consumer nature of education - we are not going to be able to fix things at third level. We need to concentrate on a number of basics at primary level in the way of literacy and numeracy. We shouldn’t need remedial teaching in second level to cater for this. We also need to rethink the whole education system in this country but the odds of it being done anything other than ideologically are low.

In terms of third level, we can’t get a turnaround in under about 5 or 6 years. And unless we figure out fast what we want, we won’t even get it. We have issues relating to grade inflation and simplified curricula - maths is a case in point, and I’m pretty sure English is as well.

One of the key features of the Irish system is the broad nature of the school leaving certificate. I don’t think that necessarily needs to be changed, but I think we could look at shifting the schedule prior to that.

Currently, we have a primary → secondary shift at around 12 or 13 and that’s really it. I’d like to see a situation whereby we bring secondary in a year or two earlier. I’d also like to see better numeracy and literacy rates coming out of junior primary (say age 8).

I think subject priorities need to be shifted a little. I’m of the opinion that the key language courses, Irish and English need to be reassessed. I don’t think the current English course with its extremely heavy emphasis on literature is beneficial in terms of teaching people communication skills, so I’d like to see English literature split off from English language. I’d like to see the same done for Irish, although I recognise that the very strongly likelihood is that very few people would take the literature course in that case. We really need to up the ante in terms of numeracy skills and mathematics but I do think the damage there is done at primary level rather than second level.

I think there is a lot to be said for bringing in a second European language at the age of 10 rather than 13. I think with modern technology also, there is a lot of scope for making it more fun than it was when I was at school. I’d like to see kids do programming in computer skills rather than Microsoft Office or FaceBook and Bebo.

Above all, I’d like to see more people coming out of Leaving Certificate with qualifications in chemistry and physics and biology. These feed into research. I think, however, they suffer with the existance of softer subjects, such as religious studies. I haven’t time to examine the Leaving certificate time table right now, but the points system tends to see people go for easier subjects rather than more demanding subjects, and that’s regrettable. It’s also why throwing money at third level isn’t going to fix very much right now.

my two cents for now.