School, the place where we start our journey into adulthood, to become responsible, intelligent and independent people. While our school system has seen changes in the last few years, I believe it is still out of sync with the times we live in. With new technological development and the fast improvement in different areas of a society, our schools haven’t evolved enough to keep up with these changes.
In the past, I believe the school system focused on ensuring you graduate, go to college and then get a 9-5 job for the rest of your life. But the times have changed. Nowadays not all school graduates pursue a 9-5 job. Some may decide to work freelance, open an online business, or take a less traditional career path. Instead of learning about these career paths in school (and many more important subjects that are necessary for us to live our lives fully), I feel we are still “encouraged” to go the corporate way, to be a herd of sheep ruled by shepherds.
Let’s compare Ireland’s educational system to Finland’s. These are two countries that frequently rank in the top ten education systems in the world. Despite ranking well, the foundations of the education systems in these countries is very different.
For example in Ireland, the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of school is uniforms. Uniforms of different colours everywhere. Meanwhile, Finland, allows their children to wear whatever they want, whenever they want.
Another comparison might be the fact that Ireland gives 7.3 hours on average of homework to pupils every week. Finland gives 2.8 hours a week of homework.
Then comes the fact that students in Finland spend only 3 hours and 45 minutes on average on a school day, but Irish students spend on average 7 hours.
To me this shows that the Finnish education system puts the student’s well being first and emphasises freedom for the students. On the other hand, Ireland believes that uniformity and obedience are keys for success.
This is why I believe Ireland will struggle to stay high in the world rankings. You cannot make a teenager listen to you by force or make them do what you want just because you are the teacher. The only way you make someone excited for school and excited to learn new things is by giving them freedom and supporting them, not dictating to them.
In my opinion the conservative way of doing things that has been a part of the Irish society for so long, and that has helped Ireland prosper over the last couple of decades, has had its time. If we continue to do things the same way and fail to evolve with the times, the education system will get worse and worse.
The world is changing constantly so we have a choice – to either change with it or to stay behind it.