Friday, 22 July 2016

Minister for Education and Foot in Mouth!!

Minister for Education and Foot In Mouth!

You can always be sure that a new Education Minister will stick his foot in his mouth before too long. This week we have had Mr Bruton telling us that we need to to be teaching "coding" or the basics of computer programming in primary schools. And then we have had a letter to victims of sexual abuse in Irish primary schools getting threatening letters telling them that if they pursue claims for damages through the courts in light of recent European Human Rights Courts Judgements, the Department of Education will pursue them for costs. We've all heard of the carrot and stick approach - but I'm afraid this is more like the tooth fairy and pile-driver approach.

Most primary schools have been doing coding projects for about five years now - but we find it difficult to complete the projects in schools in the West of Ireland because our broadband cannot support the work. We are good in primary schools at covering the basics. So why doesn't the Minister work with the other Minsters in sorting out the broadband problem so that the schools can take on yet another project that the under twelves are going to solve for our society?

The people who are pursuing damages cases against the state for having been sexually abused in our state primary schools are all aged over 55. They have had terrible lives, wrecked and ruined by the abuse that they were subjected to in our state schools because they were poor, they didn't have a father present who would come into the school and physically threaten the abusing teacher and their marginalisation was compounded by teachers who abused them knowing that nobody would hold them accountable. The state should stand up and take responsibility. It was not this Minister who messed up - but sometimes the State has to be held to a higher standard and behave better and more honourably than ordinary people do. These are not German bondholders who need to be paid off, or multi-national corporations who need preferential treatment. They are a small group of vulnerable Irish citizens, who were vulnerable from birth, and were abused in an education system that we are responsible for. Does the Irish State really stand to lose a lot by treating them fairly?   "It's with O'Leary in the grave"...... or something like that.....

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