An Overview of the Educational Ethos.
The Crane Bag, 7 (2).
The Curricular pattern into which secondary
school pupils were pressed was remarkable
chiefly as an indication of modern Ireland's
rejection of the twentieth century's dominant
This provocative claim is made by D.H. Akenson in his A Mirror to Kathleen's FaceY1 a critical study of education in independent Ireland, published in 1975. The harshness of many of Akenson's judgements however (more of which will be
examined later), together with a strident and often sniping tone in the book as a whole, have made his text something less than a definitive work on Irish education in the first four decades of independence.
The shortcomings in Akenson's work, moreover, have had the result that those who came under criticism in the text (particularly the Roman Catholic Church, political leaders, the Dept. of Education, but also the Irish people as a whole)can, with some justification, dismiss the book's
arguments as an attempt to pillory them rather than as a balanced historical disclosure of the real story.
Education in modern Ireland is so laden with controversy however, that an objective telling of the tale presents very considerable difficulties to the most circumspect of scholars, even if he or she succeeds in obtaining free access to all relevant firsthand sources. Cries of "bias" come readily to the lips of groups and individuals who fall
under any kind of indictment by the historian and the writer who does not acknowledge this fact and examine its implications before taking up his pen, leaves himself unnecessarily open to the double charge that he has failed to declare his hand openly and is seeking instead to gain the status of scholarship for his own preferred viewpoint.
||Irish Secondary Education; Ireland; D.H. Akenson; Department of Education.
||Social Sciences > Education
Dr. Padraig Hogan,
||06 Jan 2009 15:27
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