Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.33 7 Apr 2021


Share this article


A leading expert in global education has said Ireland is being left behind in a modern world.

Andreas Schleicher was speaking to Newstalk Breakfast as part of Reimagining Ireland: a new series examining some of the changes people would like to see across a range of areas in a post-pandemic Ireland.

Mr Schleicher is director for education and skills for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), of which Ireland is a member.

He said now is the time to examine changes to the system.

"Ireland does well on international comparisons... but this is also the best moment to think about the future.

"The results for Ireland that you have today are essentially the same that Ireland had 20 years ago - there's been very, very little change in learning outcomes.

"While the world has fundamentally changed.

"The kind of tasks that are easy to teach, easy to test therefore have become easy to digitise, to automate they are disappearing from labour markets."

Problems with problem solving

He said students are good at reproducing content, but fall short when it comes to problem solving.

"Irish students are very, very good when it comes to the reproduction of subject matter content - they can repeat what they've learned.

"But they are not so great when it comes to solving complex problems, when it comes to thinking out of the box.

"I do think that our times require a different kind of learning environment, where students can exercise more agency, take more responsibility for their own learning, set their own learning goals, pursue them."

Mr Schleicher said the pandemic has shown that things need to change.

"The pandemic, where students have to learn now independently at home, makes that I think abundantly clear.

"It's really about upgrading learning environments to the needs of the 21st century".

'Ways of thinking are more important'

He said while the basics of learning are important, Ireland is only teaching "the surface of the content".

"I think the basis are very important, but I believe that we teach too many things at superficial levels of depths.

"For example: science is very important, I agree with that, but today it's less important whether you can reproduce specific knowledge of physics and chemistry.

"What is more important [is] can you think like a scientist? Can you design experiments? Can you distinguish cause and effect?

"Same for history: history is no longer about just remembering names and places.

"Can you think like an historian? Can you understand how... a society emerged, how it developed, advanced?

"Those ways of thinking are becoming more important than simply the surface of the content.

"And I think that's the shift - it's not about less basics, it's about thinking differently about those basics, the fundamentals".

Ireland's students being left behind by 'unchanged' education system - OECD warns

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

   

Main image: Leaving Cert students heading into Loretto College on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

Share this article


Read more about

Andreas Schleicher Education Education In Ireland Education In The 21st Century Ireland Irish Students Newstalk Breakfast OECD Organisation For Economic Co-Operation And Development

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

Best Of Newstalk

Best Of Newstalk

00:00-06:00

Share

Up next

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-22:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on