Speaking today at the Roundtable discussion on Leaving Certificate Reform and Further Education Requirements, Vocational Options and Career Paths Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly said that she “firmly believes that we need to have secondary school education that looks more like Transition Year every year.
“Fundamentally school, particularly secondary school, is about transition into adult life. Young people want to be valued members of society. They want to actually practice what adult life is like. The school system at the moment is not allowing that. It allows them liberty during that brief period in Transition Year, which they all love. It’s about reaching out to life beyond school”.
O’Reilly went on to say that “the fundamental reason people don’t pick up apprenticeships is because they are practising in school a very academic way of being in the world. They continue that outside school because they see that is what they are supposed to do. We need to have an education system that looks more like apprenticeships in order for students to choose apprenticeships after school. This is key to a green future. We know that we need more students to choose further education that will give pathways to green jobs as well as giving them more choice”.
Speaking further on the issue of apprenticeships Senator O’Reilly said “an approach to leaving cert should be more akin to mentorships, by adults mentoring young people as opposed to teaching them. I think if we took an approach where people who are experts in particular skills mentor young people that might bring us closer to where we need to be.
“I also wonder about the number of subjects for the Leaving Cert. I believe there is an argument to be made for greater specialisation. We have a long history of real specialisation in subjects. We are not really getting enough in a half and hour or an hour per day in a subject.
O’Reilly concluded “I have a child that was home schooled who then went into Secondary school. He was reading through a book very slowly and I said ‘why don’t you just finish the book’ and he said ‘it’s not as much fun when your told to do it’. That’s really where I’m coming from in relation to specialisation. It’s not really to do what they might do in later life but it’s more that it gives them autonomy over their education and they’re not studying subjects because we have to but actually specialising in things to get more joy out of the learning. It’s about the skills that you learn in studying those subjects as opposed to the subject itself”.