The Legacy of Free Post-Primary Education in Ireland
Edited by Judith Harford
5. Responding to the Neglect of Aims in Irish Post-Primary Education (D. G. Mulcahy)
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D. G. MULCAHY
5 Responding to the Neglect of Aims in Irish Post-Primary Education1
Imagine the bewilderment of an airline attendant if you turned up at the airport and all you asked for was a return ticket and an aisle seat far forward in the aircraft. As you searched for your passport, the attendant may well have wondered if you had any idea where you were headed. Now imagine a system of schooling that didn’t know where it was going either, but was adamant on how it would get there, that is, by teaching the subjects it had already chosen, using methods of assessment it had adopted from an earlier century. Struck by the odd logic of this scenario, in the late 1970s and early 1980s I began to study the particular form this system took in Ireland as I examined the evolution of curriculum and policy in Irish post-primary education throughout much of the twentieth century. Now, from a different point in time, I am taking the opportunity to look at it again.
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