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Primary Education in Ireland, 1897-1990

Curriculum and Context


Thomas Walsh

This book critically examines the context, origins, development and implementation of successive primary school curricula in Ireland between 1897 and 1990. It focuses on three particular policy changes during the period: the Revised Programme of Instruction introduced in 1900, the curricular provisions implemented following the achievement of independence in the 1920s and the Primary School Curriculum of 1971. These three eras are distinctive by virtue of their philosophy of education, the content of the curriculum, the methodologies employed and the concept of the child inherent in the curriculum. The author analyses curricular changes within the complex web of wider educational and societal factors that influenced their devising and implementation.
In this way, he locates curricular developments within the climate of thought from which these policies emerged. The philosophy and ideology underpinning successive curricula are examined, along with the successes and shortcomings of curriculum implementation in each period. This historical analysis of the evolution of the primary curriculum in Ireland has much to offer researchers and policymakers in the contemporary context, amid ongoing curriculum development.


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List of Acronyms xi


List of Acronyms B.Ed – Bachelor of Education CEB – Curriculum and Examinations Board CEC – Central Executive Committee CLÁR – Committee on Irish Language Attitudes Research CMPI – Commission on Manual and Practical Instruction CNEI – Commissioners of National Education in Ireland CSO – Central Statistics Of fice DATI – Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction EEC – European Economic Community ERC – Educational Research Centre ESAI – Educational Studies Association of Ireland GAA – Gaelic Athletic Association GNP – Gross National Product INTO – Irish National Teachers’ Organisation JAM – Junior Assistant Mistress MRBI – Market Research Bureau of Ireland n.d. – No date NESC – National Economic and Social Council NIEC – National Industrial and Economic Council NPC-P – National Parents’ Council Primary OECD – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development RTÉ – Raidió Teilifís Éireann T.D. – Teachta Dála (Irish member of parliament) UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

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