1+1 = 2
That was Health Minister, Doctor James Reilly giving a guest lecture in junior cert maths in the Dail.
Meanwhile, Education Minister, Ruairi Quinn was busy overhauling the same school year within the Irish Education System.
The proposal by the Minister to replace the Junior Cert, which currently sees students revising towards a final, all or nothing end-of-year exam in each subject, will be replaced by a process of continual assessment through project-work, combined with a lesser percentage exam at the end of the year.
It seems many students and parents are happy to hear that changes are ahead, as it will give students who struggle with end of year exams a chance to shine and be marked on their achievements during class-time, by way of assignments and group work.
But in comparison, some teachers and teachers unions are not happy with Quinn's plans
Students will also be given the option to take on more tailored subjects such as IT Programming and certain manual skills that could be of benefit to them in the workforce.
So gone will be the ‘Learn it off for the exam and forget it once that’s done’. But all students must still take the three core subjects of Irish, English and Maths at Junior Cert level.
Under this new system students would be more inclined to ask for further help and clarification of who, what, why, where, when or how.
This is a great idea as far as I’m concerned. I wish it were in place when I was at secondary level. However, I would like some clarification on the following points.
Next they will want money to change an ink cartridge or boil the kettle in the staff room. (Sounds familiar).
To teach skills to any section of society should be a passion. Many teachers today only seem to be interested in the pay cheque and the summer holidays.
A true teacher should take these changes on the chin and look forward being able to bring out the best of all their students through all aspects of the new system.
The Minister says he has no plans to make similar changes to the Leaving Certificate. I disagree that
Hooray for the Junior Certificate overhaul…but boo for the unions and greedy teachers!
So the Government needs to make more cuts to keep the Troika singing a happy tune. And indeed the IMF have previously noted that the area of child benefit should be looked at in relation to the next series of such cuts.
Today Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore (amongst others) have packed their lunches and headed off on a school trip to see the real headmasters over in Brussels. I'm sure that Ireland's progress will be under the microscope while they are attending lectures, and they will probably come home with red biro and 'could do better' marked on their copy.
I for one do believe that there are savings to be made within the area of child benefit. I'm also quite sure that the current system, like all benefit payments, is being exploited by a select few of our society. Means testing seems to be a word that not many people like to hear included in the same sentence as child benefit. But why not?
I've no problem stating that I hate the sight of Michael O'Leary! Even hearing his voice just paints pictures in my head of poor unfortunate air passengers ramming a 15kg block into a 7kg hole (supposedly 10kg!). But tight as he may be in relation to air travel benefits, O'Leary speaks wisely in relation to child benefit. He acknowledged that although he receives the payment and is legally entitled to it, he would have no problem forfeiting it, because he would be classed as a 'high earner' of sorts!
Ok, before I get lynched for marking out Mr O'Leary and his family as an example of a typical Irish family. I am well aware that there is a vast difference between him, those like him and the poorest of the poor within our country. Yes I understand that there are families in Ireland that could not carry on putting food on the table and clothes on their children's backs if this benefit was cut in any way.
But i'm not saying cut the damn thing at this level! I just think we need to be realistic and recognise that for all those in actual poverty and dependent on a payment like this, there are also probably as many in contrast that CAN easily afford to forfeit this 'bonus' top up to their comfortable lives and the lives of their children.
I'm talking about a top-down approach to cuts, based on some version of means testing (don't shoot me!) of a combined family income. Perhaps we could look at first of all offering an amnesty of sorts to big business people AND politicians (Government & those in opposition) to surrender payments of this benefit. Skip to around the 15 minute mark in the video below to see how child benefit gets O'Leary hot under the collar. On the right panel are the current rates for child benefit payments in Ireland from the citizens information website.
Click the image to view the Saudi Ikea brochure
Women love it and men hate the sight of it. But in Saudi Arabia it seems that Ikea is strictly a male orientated world.
The Swedish furniture giant seems to be in hot water after differences in their Saudi based catalogue were uncovered by Sweden's Metro newspaper. It seems the Saudi stores have decided to airbrush out any representation of women from the pages of their brochures.
Apparently Ikea's stores in Saudi Arabia are run under a separate franchise and the parent company said that they were unaware of the differences in marketing and promotional materials, and they obviously support equal rights for men and women. The news story highlights a very interesting debate about morals and beliefs. How can people or business organisations say they respect the rights of a foreign land or religion, yet they get their knickers in a twist (no stereotyping or pun intended!) over the internal beliefs and ideologies that foreign land holds?
Ikea's unlikely popularity in Saudi was highlighted previously when three MEN were killed in a stampede during a special promotion at Saudi Arabis Jeddah based store in 2004.
Think about the following questions:
My Purple Chair
The My Purple Chair title was born from my favourite place to sit and think about what's happening in the world. It's old but comfortable. So i suppose it's a bit like myself!