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Changes In The Irish Education System.

1429 words - 6 pages

The Irish education system has experienced dramatic changes in the last few decades. Education plays a major role in Ireland today, with the growing importance of good education credentials to obtain high skills and competitive jobs. We have seen change in the areas of technology, increased marketisation of education, different types of education, Ethnicities, religions role, women's equality, class and so forth. These changes have brought many benefits and enhanced education standards in this country for most, however they have not benefited others as much.A major turning point in the Irish education system was the introduction of free education into this country. This allowed everyone the right and opportunity to education despite their background or social class. While in the past only the rich could afford to educate their children and very few working class children had the opportunity to continue onto secondary school, if even finish primary school. Education stopped people from moving upwards in an already class divided society. Normally a working class child was only sent to primary school for a few years until they reached a suitable age to start working. However this changed drastically with the introduction of free fees for second level education in 1967 and free third level fees in 1995, in an attempt by the government to create a more skilled and educated work force. These free fees allowed people who previously wouldn't have been able to afford to continue their education to second and third level to do so. Giving young people the chance to get qualifications also allowed them to move up the class ladder. Today in Ireland 52% of secondary school leavers attend some third level institution. However there is an argument that these free fees only benefit those who can take advantage of them. It is argued that poorer people still can't afford to send their children to post primary institutes and in particular onto third level due to increasing costs such as registration fees, accommodation, food, travel, books and so forth. Therefore it is the rich that benefit most from these free fees. For instance since the introduction the numbers attending second level have increased however further inequalities have been reported by third level as those able to make most use of the free fees benefit most (Tovey and Share, 2000). However with the introduction of the points system and increased marketisation of education, those the means to can avail of more educational opportunities such as grinds, private tutors and personal computers, help them obtain better results and get into college. While those not so well off can't afford to take these opportunities. Recent studies show that only one third of students from unskilled backgrounds received at least two C's in higher level papers in the Leaving Certificate while over three quarters of students from backgrounds of higher professions received at least two C's in higher level papers (Tovey &...

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