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Education for All?

The Legacy of Free Post-Primary Education in Ireland

Edited By Judith Harford

This book, commissioned to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the introduction of free post-primary education in Ireland, examines its origins, legacy and impact. The contributions are written by a range of scholars internationally recognized for their expertise in the fields of history of education, sociology of education, education policy and curriculum. Collectively, they theorize both the historical context for the introduction of free education as well as the impact of the initiative on the promotion of equality of opportunity. The book takes a long view, bringing new knowledge to the field by analysing previously unexamined primary sources, drawing on up-to-date research on educational disadvantage and assessing the changing emphases of Irish educational policy over time.
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Notes on Contributors


TOM BOLAND is an international education consultant and a partner in BH Associates. In August 2016, he stepped down from his role as Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority, ending over two decades at the most senior levels in the Irish education system. The HEA leads the strategic development of the Irish higher education and research system. Prior to his role in the HEA, he served as Director of Strategic Policy and legal adviser in the Department of Education and Skills. He holds degrees in Civil Engineering (National University of Ireland, Galway) and Law (the Honourable Society of King’s Inns) and was called to the Bar of Ireland in 1989.

JOHN COOLAHAN is Professor Emeritus of Education at Maynooth University. He qualified as a national teacher in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, before obtaining a BA, HDE and MA from University College Dublin and an MEd and PhD from Trinity College Dublin. He was also awarded honorary doctorates by the NUI and Dublin City University. He taught at all levels of the Irish education system and has been heavily involved in major policy development initiatives sponsored by the Department of Education and Skills. He has also had extensive experience of educational policy internationally, particularly with the European Commission and the OECD.

MARGARET CREAN is Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the School of Education in University College Dublin (UCD). She holds undergraduate degrees in Science and Social Science from UCD, where she also completed a Master’s...

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