In a lecture, “A measure of truth: the challenge for researchers.”
by Colum Kenny the following references to National school education is made:
The holy ground of Dublin City University is a very appropriate place on which to attempt integrated or interdisciplinary forms of research. For 167 years, this has been the site of educational activities.
In 1838, John Pitt Kennedy, the first inspector-general of the nascent Irish National School system, acquired land here for the state (a fact that we celebrate in the name given to our staff dining area, ‘The 1838 Club’).
John Pitt was one of a remarkable trio of brothers, of whom the others were Evory (sometime master of the Rotunda Hospital) and Tristram (a member of parliament and founder of both the Dublin Law Institute and the Carrickmacross Lace industry). It was Tristram’s record of innovation and reform that inspired me to write a book on aspects of professionalisation in Ireland in the nineteenth century (Tristram Kennedy and the revival of Irish legal training, 1835-1885) (16). Indeed, it is interesting to note similarities in the discussions then about legal education and those about media education now, especially as regards the boundaries of ‘relevance’ and practicality. In respect of Tristram, incidentally, I was also very happy to be asked to write a new entry about him for the recently revised Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (17), in the earlier editions of which he had been overlooked.
When Tristram’s brother, John Pitt, bought the land on which Dublin City University now stands, it was for the specific purpose of building a central model farm and training establishment for National School teachers.*
* This was called the Glasnevin Institute and was to the East of the current Albert Park.
The teachers were to be taught how to give instruction to children not only in reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic but also in practical and innovative methods of agriculture.
The Kennedy brothers had a broad view of education. And we academics today must also take a balanced and holistic approach to our work if our search for the truth is to be authentic and fruitful. For science and the humanities are two aspects of the same Mind.
It is important to note that Ireland has a unique Educational system for two reasons:
1. It was established to avoid sectarianism.
The Clontarf Report “Illegal Religious Discrimination in National Schools in Ireland”.
2. Never has a system been totally misunderstood by those administrating it.
Is a National school the same as a Primary School. No a National School must be open to all, and no religious instruction can be given to anyone without their consent. In fact it must be given to the different Religions, and Denominations separately.
Not surprising having grown up in Apartheid South Africa, it took me a long time to understand NON RACIALISM over against racist or multiracialism which is how most commentators saw SA after the death of Mandela.
So it is not Primary denominational Education or Multi denominational Education but Non Denominational National Education.
It is not relevant who the Patron is or who owns the School but what does matter is if it furthers Apartheid Sectarianism or National integration.
Primary Education is a possibility for any group or body to start. They can do anything they like in the school but must fund it themselves. National Schools being funded by the State must not discriminate on Access or teach religion to all the pupils. If they do they are in breach of the Irish Constitution.
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