June 6, 2013

No matter how you do, there is life after the Leaving Cert

Posted in Behavioural Economics · 100 comments ·

The little nine-year-old boy sat at the kitchen table in front of two computer screens. Open on the first one was ‘World of Warcraft’, which he was playing furiously. Open on the other was Skype where he was consulting with four of his young friends on what move to make next. These children were engaged in that most common of human activities – they were collaborating. They were consulting each other, learning new tricks from each other and getting the best out of each other by sharing information.

This is what humans are good at and arguably the ability to collaborate and communicate with each other in detail in order to share information is one of the key evolutionary characteristics, which divides humans from other animals. Our willingness to consult and learn from each other, perfectly summed up in the old expression “two heads are better than one”, has been the driving force in our success in so many fields of endeavour.

The nine-year-old boy above is the son of a friend of mine and he and his little mates are doing what comes naturally to the human race – they are collaborating. They are also collaborating in a world where technology has made the ability to collaborate almost infinite.

My own son plays a game called ‘FIFA 13′ – a football-based video game. It allows kids to pick their best teams, deploy their best moves and it also puts them into the position of manager. It also allows them to talk to each other, to consult and seek advice from each other and they love it. They are working in teams, displaying a diversity of opinion. They are still independent and decentralised but the technology allows them to aggregate their opinions and turn private judgments into the best collective decision.

This is what all humans do in real life, we share information and ability; we break into teams, consult, listen and normally elevate group decisions over individual solo runs. The key foundation of collaboration is the acceptance that there are lots of possible answers to any question. It would sound silly if you held the view that there is only one answer to any question, wouldn’t it?

Most of us accept the idea that there are lots of possible answers and lots of possible ways at arriving at these lots of possible answers.

This is what that dreadfully overused expression “thinking outside the box” is all about. “Thinking outside the box” implies we should strive to be the type of person who isn’t driven by conformity but by diversity, the type of person who sees multiple answers, not just one. As a result, we should try to create systems and companies that foster this type of thinker.

Now contrast this creative, tried and tested human urge to both experiment and collaborate with the structures we impose in the education system and the examination process. Collaborating is in essence copying, yet we tell kids in school that copying is cheating. One of my abiding memories of school is fellas with a big protective arm around their work in exams shielding their answers from prying eyes, coggers and cheats. In the real world this type of protective behaviour is frowned on. It is the very antithesis of the creative process.

Yet this is what our exam system is based on.

This morning more than 117,000 young adults will sit down to do their Leaving and Junior Cert. And yes of course the sun is shining. They will have come out of a system which labels the notion of copying or collaborating as cheating. The students will not be allowed to talk or exchange ideas; rather the sum of their intelligence will be reduced to a massive national exercise in short-term memory retention.

Give me another example in your real working life where a memory test is central to whether you succeed or fail? Yet we grade our children as we were graded ourselves on the basis of a giant memory test.

I realise that this is the nature of standardised testing and achieving a standard is important. It is also difficult to see how else it could be done, particularly as the great merit of the Leaving Cert is that it is fair, everyone faces the same test at the same time without explicit favouritism.

It has been a vector for massive social improvement in the past and smart kids can make great leaps if they have the sort of brain that can stake information in a certain organised way and get that information down on paper in a linear fashion.

However, this is only one type of intelligence. This rather narrow gauge type of intelligence is rewarded. The standardisation process punishes other types of intelligence. The standardisation process elevates an academic type of brain. Anyone who has hung out with academics for long knows that this type of training can produce a bitchy, neurotic type of character more interested in narrow gauge point scoring than open ended, generous, general education.

In addition, a system like this ensures that there are plenty of reasonably clever people who leave school thinking they are actually stupid. This can stigmatise people for a long time.

More egregiously it also means that there are plenty of quite stupid people who leave school thinking they are really clever! This can elevate these types to positions in the real world for which they are not suited at all.

All in all, the Leaving Cert is a relic, but like many relics it is given undue prominence and it becomes almost totemic in its significance long after this very significance has become anachronistic. However, a test based on pure individual memory in a world of open, crowd-based collaboration is surely past its sell-by date.

When standardised tests were first introduced they were revolutionary in a world of elites and favouritism where who you knew not what you knew counted for everything. Standardised testing eliminated this type of discrimination and that was an unambiguously democratic move.

But today when the world is faced with disruptive technology and rapid economic change, the education system’s key metric of reward and punishment should reflect real-world challenges and not old-world academic prejudices which elevate a certain type of brain and denigrate another type.

In a world of infinite possibilities there is always more than one answer.

I’m chairing a debate – ‘What is the point of the Leaving Cert’ – on Saturday, June 15 at the Dalkey Book Festival. Tickets available here.

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  1. Lius

    Prescribe – OH YEAH!

    • Adam Byrne

      Get in there my son, where is Mr. Happy Dole Dude? Probably still in bed the slack ass.

      • Deeply insightful as usual AA.

        What is wrong with not being a morning person?

        Being a morning person just proves you are programmed by routine and nothing more. Anyone who takes pride in being a ‘morning person’ is fucked up and thinking like a happy slave

        That sort of shit was alright in 1950s America but it was a massive lie

        Some people work best at night.

        Now try to get your head around that and come back after you and Col have had a wee think.

  2. Marcas

    I agree with David’s comments to a certain extent, but suspect that traditional examinations are the least worst option. One alternative is collaborative project work. Anytime this is used it almost inevitably creates a situation in which the work is unevenly distributed and free-riders benefit from the work of more conscientious group members. An alternative group assessment model can be seen in “The Apprentice,” which appears designed to bring out all that is bad in human nature.
    As an A level teacher in the north, I would not see myself as preparing pupils for a memory test, but helping to provide them with a range of skills in analysis, evaluation and communication, which are as essential now as they were 50 years ago.

    • brentan

      too true. in fairness to my fellow students, many had their sights on a 2.1 or 2.2 and were given no choice but to collaborate with others who were reaching out for an honours degree. in that situation,though,i really would have preferred to work alone.

  3. pauloriain

    All of the most successful people in the world are creative type people, e.g. pop stars, Steve Jobs, movie producers, directors, entrepreneurs, artists, even speculators and investors, who can see something others can’t and make it happen. The leaving certificate does virtually nothing to foster creativity or critical thought, which feeds into proper analysis.

    The leaving cert is the foundation block of how Irish society works. Jump thru’ this hoop and we’ll give you this, then spend the rest of your life jumping thru’ hoops until you become a moron banker, regulator, civil servant (permanent) government official or work for some investment bank or a leader in some deluded church, sweeping child abuse under the carpet and never stop to think what is this all for and are we doing the right thing……. duh! By and large this is the way society has worked down thru’ the ages, like when they discovered the world was not flat…. that didn’t suit the so called intelligentsia moron narrative (they hadn’t decided it was round, so it wasn’t) and so the leaving cert begins the moron induction process.

    If the leaving cert properly analysed all the types of intelligence and weighted the results properly then we might have a chance to develop as a nation, because the systems very foundation block would be changed.

    Truth be told, let ‘em off if that’s what they want and it will suit so many people who are s(h)itting the leaving certificate right now. However, there are load of people s(h)itting the leaving certificate who this process just doesn’t suit, but there’s very little done to accommodate their talents and ability and we ultimately lose. Pity really, because creatives make the world.

  4. Lius


    I believe that the Leaving Certificate system was not created not as a standardized system of measuring intelligence but established to prevent the corruption which Irish Society is famous for and has destroyed our economy.

    Without the Leaving Certificate we would have to use some form of Continuous Assessment which would be a much better form of measuring intelligence. However as this would have to be administered locally in each school the Mammies, Daddies, Parish Priest, Local Politicians, etc would all have a big influence on the grades.

    So the question really is not ‘What is the point of the Leaving Cert’ but ‘how to introduce Continuous Assessment without corruption’. Possibly the disruptive technology you mentioned could be employed to do this. Students could sit a test (weekly or monthly) all at the same time in the comfort of their own classroom on a PC with a fingerprint / retina recognition system to prevent cheating.

  5. Pat Flannery

    The current Irish education system is a masterful representation of the duality of neoliberalism at work. The game is not collaboration for the greater good, which is communism, it is the profit game disguised as public service. Our exam system uses the most elemental animal training method: jump through these hoops and you will get a fistful of sugar as your reward, provided you don’t ask any questions.

    Your article today is a perfect example. Your last sentence tells it all: listen up children, everything must end with the sales pitch: get your ticket for my next gig here; I have CDs for sale at the table on your way out; buy my latest book at the Acme bookstore etc. etc.

    The Leaving Cert is: see, I have jumped through the exam loops as you told me and am now in line for my well-deserved sugary job.

    Collaboration is for losers is the real message of both the Leaving Cert and your article. The real message is “tickets available here”.

  6. rebean

    Would you say the Irish education system embodies “Thinking outside the box ?? ” I doubt it . How can a system that is based on conformity in all things be good for change? Why is conformity rewarded in the system? Because its easier for those who administer the system. The system is outdated due to the lack of funding for up-skilling and the lack of interest in a lot of the teachers. why is computer programming not a core subject? because the resources are not there and its too much hassle for the old die hards.

  7. sweeper

    the title is excellent. The circulum is very poor. I have a daughter doing the leaving cert and had one last year. They didn’t touch a computer since coming back from abroad to do their Junior cert. The lack of technology is a massive weakness. The IB system is vastly superior and also operates a points system that is fair and above board. However you are simplifying the achievement of those who do well. All who do well show great dedication, focus, hard work and intelligence to achieve their goals. These attributes are highly valued in the workplace. Intelligence without focus and hard work don’t get you very far.


    The education system has 2 functions, provide cushy work for the admin staff( especailly @ 3rd level), & keep young people out of the job market as long as possible. 90,000 are now doing FAS schemes, the real unemployment rate is 25%. 100,000 people leaving the education system per annum and trying to enter the labour market is unsustainable.

  9. molly

    Dont just Think out side the box,
    Bring the box.
    I think when a country is functioning properly that’s when the thinking outside the box comes out big time.
    When a country is in recession the bright sparks seam to be the damp sparks.

  10. Irish PI

    More egregiously it also means that there are plenty of quite stupid people who leave school thinking they are really clever! This can elevate these types to positions in the real world for which they are not suited at all.

    Never a truer word written when we can see what kind of clods we have running the place..Not to mind the kind of clods who produce the little clods out there..I speak from experiance as I had Micheal Noonan for my geography teacher up to my “Inter.”[Remember that?].
    In fairness to “Mike”,he was a great geography teacher,an average politican and a terrible minister for justice and now, finance.
    It goes to show that there are people out there who are well in over their heads and are doing irrepable damage to Irish society due to not being capable of chewing gum and walking at the same time.But survive by being total appartchicks.
    Another horrifying example here is the promotion of “The rugger hugger or GAA jock to divinity status.”
    I remember sweating my brains out for this damn exam,and there was a rugger bugger jock in our computor class..The guy was so dense,he spent an hour looking for the “ANY” key on a keyboard in computor class.Y
    et because he was senior rugger captain our rugger mad Jesuit headmaster made sure he got a good word for a job in the local bank.Imagine my shock in finding this fellow behind the counter after the Summer holidays…I closed my account and moved to the next bank the same day.I think this guy is now in charge of the branch…
    Only thing I can think that the leaving cert is good for is teaching you how to handle stress..Do the leaving cert,nothing in exams or life can freak you ever..

  11. A hideous experience I’d rather forget. So much pressure and stress over something so daft.

  12. Mr Happy Dole Dude

    Ah every year the leaving cert is this and that … if only you had opened your thoughts with quote from some academic scholar your thoughts would have had more weight…

    Mean while the collaborative groupthink from those in charge of the money system continues unabated the collective collaborators are all college graduates who must be listened to because they got the points the issue is not the leaving cert but what comes after it…

    Austerity is necessary, like a ‘swarm’ of swallows they now change their direction after the new blind fear navigator “Austerity not working”- Oh my! Oh gosh! What have ‘we’ done? At least there is some heroism (balls) in saying you’re wrong Christine but what if you’re wrong on other issues too?

    Fiat money-continuous growth, when will the flocking beasts change direction? I expect it will happen when the fear- predator attacks from a divergent vantage point.

    It not a collaborative groupthink economist we need it’s a study of human flocking behaviour by ‘a’ ‘group of individuals’
    ‘A quote gives weight to the flocking academics’ is not what you say it’s how you say it!

    Don’t you just love individualism…

    PARIS — He has been praised as a war chief in Mali. Now, French President Francois Hollande has been awarded a U.N.-sponsored peace prize.

    • Adam Byrne

      You’ve upped your game Dude (Mr Happy Dole).

      Must have been the words of encouragement from David.

      Personally I did rubbish in the Leaving Certificate because I had no interest and motivation at the age of 16. All I wanted to do was get out and see the world. Well I did okay, considering I did no work, I remember spending hours each evening before the exams in a snooker hall. Stress was not a factor.

      Now, at the age of 40, I have just graduated top of my class in university (for what that’s worth) and hope to be heading for a PhD in September (and what is that worth too? – I’m doing it for myself, not for any letters after my name).

      Anyway, good stuff Dude.

  13. mcsean2163

    ohh, very egregious!

  14. Adelaide

    Education Is NOT The Same As Schooling

    The school I attended was merely an inner-city crèche for teenagers to reduce the street crime. Utter waste of time. No rhyme or reason, only if you intended to go on to third level, points make prizes, but third level may as well have been on Mars as far as the school was concerned, only a handful of us bothered to actually sit the Leaving exam. I roll my eyes up anytime I think of my secondary ‘education’. Any other sphere of life and they’d be liable for a lawsuit of malpractice/connivance of trust. The week the Leaving finished I headed off to Europe and worked my way round for two years on my own wits. That experience set me up for life, it ‘made’ me and I’m always grateful for it. I was lucky in life that I succeeded despite my formative ‘education’ but unfortunately many never rose above the fatalism and wilful ignorance that was knocked into them every school day. ‘Shameful’ is the only word for the young lives indoctrinated to failure and idleness and cluelessness. And yet no adults questioned it. Perhaps they too were equally indoctrinated.

    • Pat Flannery

      As usual I agree with you Adelaide. Thanks for the video link.

      Leaving Cert, a diploma or a degree is nothing more than a certificate of indoctrination. Perhaps they should just ear-tag us like cattle to show that we have been inoculated against the dreaded disease of knowledge.

      • Adam Byrne

        I’ve no interest in the letters after my name or the certificate or whatever they are going to give me but I HAVE learned quite a bit in the last three years as a mature student and it will open certain doors for me although they won’t be of a corporate, 9-5 nature.

    • Adam Byrne

      You are dead right Adelaide. My school wasn’t as bad as yours sounds – it was (is) in Lucan, which is neither rich nor poor (on average). However, the best thing I ever did was leaving the country at 17 and travelling the continent and subsequently the world. It’s the best way to learn, there’s loads of time after to go back to college if a person so desires, which is what I did when I was 37/38. But the only real way to learn is in the university of life.

      • Pat Flannery

        I had “letters after my name” from both Ireland and England when I left for America at age 34. Offering my “education” for employment over there was like offering pound notes at a gas station – they didn’t know and didn’t care what either were. I had to find my own way as if I had zero education, which from their point of view was what I had.

        That was the beginning of my real education. It is called “smarts”. I now have very little regard for the so-called “education” I received in Ireland and in London.

      • mcsean2163

        Mr. Byrne,

        I’m afraid I take umbrage with you remark concerning the university of life. The university of death is by far and away superior to the univeristy of life.

        However, as an addendum, I would like to applaud the sentiments expressed in your previous post and wish you the best of luck traversing corporate doors between the hours of 5 – 9. The country needs more of your ilk to work the unsociable hours that so many find so repugnant.

  15. bonbon

    Well, the Leaving Cert did not prepare voters for the political and economic rape that is now codified in Dodd-Frank and the EU Banking Union. It did not prepare one to ask tough questions like this :

    European Parliament MEP Cristiana Muscardini Files Query to EU
    Commission: Is Bankia the Future for All EU Savers?

    June 5, 2013 (EIRNS)–Member of European Parliament (MEP) Cristiana Muscardini (Italy) filed the following Question to the EU Commission today: Can the Commission
    1. Imagine the state of mind of Spanish savers and Bankia customers when, on May 28, shares they had received in exchange for their deposits lost 50% of their face value, and they watched billions in savings evaporate in one day?
    It is the effect of the bail-in, they eventually learned, that is to say, of that accounting expedient which banks use in order to increase their capital, consisting in converting assets of the bank (shares, subordinate bonds, capital assets, credits) in ordinary capital.
    2. Since bail-in is one of the pillars of the Banking Union, is this the system of banking resolution ready for all subjects of the Eurozone?
    3. Does it have an idea of what could happen in EU countries when voters (in less than one year there will be elections) will begin to understand what intentions are hidden behind the Banking Union, that is to say that it is a scheme to use depositors’ money to save speculators?
    4. Does it not fear that this mechanism represents a fundamental perversion threatening to exponentially increase systemic effects?
    5. Does it not suspect that the never reformed system is receiving mortal blows and is ready to have the bubble explode, signaled by the flight out of U.S. Treasuries as a result of the policy of monetary expansion?

    An educated workforce would spot the serial swindles perpetrated at the bud, housing bubbles, dot.com bubbles, green bubbles, windy climate jousting – remember Sancho Panza and Don Quixote, the mad Don trying to educate Sancho with a return to feudalism? A lesson for Irish school goers :

    Bankia Depositors: Thrice Screwed

    • 5Fingers

      You need good teachers. Teachers in Ireland are not cream of the intellects. Same elsewhere.

      • bonbon

        And they go after teacher pay to bail out banks. Teachers should be motivated to show exactly what finance is doing. But ne’er a mumblin’ word?

  16. Joe R

    There is an interesting book called Start-up Nation about Israel ( where David McW is actually quoted a few times ) that deals with the entrepreneurial/start up culture there. It seeks to explain why they lead the world in development.

    It points to the obligatory military service, the culture inherent in that how that is organized and run over 12 years, and the general frankness of Jews are named as critical factors in why they lead the work in high tech start ups.

    Israel has been able to create a successful country from a fairly arid part of the world with little in the way of natural resources. The time frame for Israel existence and size of the country make it an interesting comparison for Ireland.

    It also deals with why this entrepreneurial culture didn´t graft on to other cultures, Singapore is mentioned, when they tried to `import´ it deliberately.

    it is decidedly pro-Isreali but it is worth a look on the issue in question.

    • 5Fingers

      Well, massive FDI does go a long way. They are not entirely on their own. Also, their academic bias is cultural and profound. Yet to find a thick Israeli. Stubborn Thick…never.

      • 5Fingers

        I meant… Stubborn Yes…Thick Never.

      • Joe R


        FDI to Israel has not been massive and that is a critical point. FDI to Ireland year on year was up to 10 times higher percentage of GDP wise. Data for Ireland vs Israel is here ;


        Of course subsidised fighters, bombs, etc from the US is another matter…

        • 5Fingers

          Military is where the real R&D is. Lots of spinoffs. I can reel off a list of Israeli companies who are world leaders in scanning, monitoring, medical devices, optics…all with their roots in security and military.

          • Joe R

            Really like to can roll off non factual `facts´ about FDI?

            Did the Israelis give you access to their labs – military or civilian – for you to assess it all? How much? Where money comes? What gets developed? And what and who for?

            Are you really a Mossad agent 5fingers?

            Israel gets $3 billion a year in military aid from the US – it is not that much and they have to spend most of that in the US directly on purchases there. Not R & D.

            I suggest you learn to distinguish bilateral aid for purchases from FDI.

          • 5Fingers

            You are taking me up wrong. You are forgetting FDI is not all monetary. These are a global people in the real sense. Only need to look at the names of people in leading research institutes around the world to see the wealth of contacts these people have. They have military and security needs and can tap a global knowledge source accordingly. Most of their innovation is from that. Take any commercial security scanning sensing or recording system and you will be a rake of Israeli Intellectual property behind it.

          • Joe R

            5 fingers you completely missed the point with your discussion ending attempts at put downs here. And I didn´t take you up incorrectly.

            D McWilliams here relates a lack of invention in Irish society largely to the 2nd level final exam process. while it is a good topic to investigate I don´t see his argument as convincing on the whole. There are more factors involved for me.

            I pointed out that Israel a reasonable country to compare to Ireland and has a high level of invention.

            According to Start-up Nation criticallyit has a completely different post 2nd level personal development structure which destroys class hierarchy affords lots of opportunity to lots of young people – girls and boys – to assume responsibility including command and use multi-million dollar equipment day in day out. Not sit on the dole or pretend to be learning something useful just from a text book.

            University education, if that happens for an Israeli, only comes after military service and military and civilian links are maintained for years via obligatory reserve service with the exact same group of comrades. Normal life including business and military service are deeply intertwined. One feeds the other.

            The book talks about many cultural factors and factors such as immigration where Israel benefited from Russian educated immigrants with strong abilities in maths too.

            This pattern with normal Israeli personal development would suggest to me that the Leaving Cert is not the only part of a problem in Ireland.

            I would like to see to see a further real investigation of that, not just the simple opinion piece here.

            And I would like to say Roy Keane style all credit to DMcW here for instigating the debate.

    • Adam Byrne

      Good point Joe R. It COULD work here, problem is it never will.

      Couldn’t be assed. Too much effort. Rather, bring on the next GET RICH QUICK SCHEME.

      • 5Fingers

        I always felt Ireland could do worse than have base for military R&D here. We do no nukes, no weapons or anything with serious materials science or hi tech science. So it is hard to build a workshop with real tooling.

        There any one hi tech lead country and I can guarantee there was a large military derivation. I’d say Israel’s workshops are still filled with a myriad of unused solutions from military R&D ready to be unleashed onto the normal consumer markets.

      • Joe R


        I think based my experiences on where I live, now that Ireland not so far away likes of Israel in terms of innovation and possibility of creating a more innovative culture in Ireland to benefit wouldn´t be out of the question. But it would be difficult.


      • Joe R


        I think based my experiences on where I live now that Ireland not so far away likes of Israel in terms of the correct elements for a culture of innovation. The two booms the dot com and property and the sealing up of access to civil service jobs will have knocked the make the quick buck/ or safe buck attitude on it´s head for a bit.

        I think the possibility of creating a more innovative culture in Ireland to benefit the nation wouldn´t be out of the question but it certainly would be difficult.


        • Adam Byrne

          Yes Joe R.

          I do agree with you. Despite my general negativity on here (I’m personally a very optimistic person) about what goes on in this country, heavily influenced by the ridiculous ‘management’ (or lack thereof) of government, the economy, the banks etc. over the last three years that I have been here studying – I have always maintained that the potential here is virtually limitless. With our geographical location, historical and cultural connections, the diaspora, the (relatively) benign and favourable climate, low population density, arable land, fisheries, multi-national investment, linguistic advantage (English first language), people (generally decent, friendly, talented and creative), the sky (and beyond – think space travel) is not even the limit.

          But this country has been hijacked for almost a hundred years by vested interests who are just as bad, if not worse than their colonial forefathers and are intent on milking the place and it’s inhabitants for every last cent and resource until nothing is left but a few obedient sheep and everyone else has left or been killed off. What’s worse, in a deeply flawed ‘democratic’ system, which requires urgent reform, those remaining sheep continue to vote in the same rapist gombeens over and over again. There’s a culture of not putting your head about the parapet and toeing the line, and combined with other cultural problems such as the abuse of alcohol and the obsession with property it means gombeen overlords have the sheep penned in, just where they like them, and fit for repeated milking, and that’s the way it’ll stay until there is some kind of drastic change. There are a few bright lights out there which illuminate the afore-mentioned potentiality but it needs someone to turn on the lights full blast – who is that?

          People like Bertie Ahern and his dig outs are honestly guilty of genocidal crimes (think the rate of suicide). I’m complaining here but the fact is, I’m fine and can look after myself and have a bright future. It’s not about me, it’s about fairness in society, not everyone is born with the same abilities or opportunities and a large percentage of people in Ireland are being abused by the state, the banks, etc. in a manner not much different to the abuse practiced in the past by the likes of the Catholic Church, the Magdalene laundries, the medical profession (e.g. Symphysiotomy), etc. etc.

          The weasel Enda Kenny and his mates are always looking for the next scam to impose on the people and when that weasel is gone another one will take his place as sure as night follows day.

          • Joe R

            The mere thought of Bertie, Inda and pals brings on a big wave negativity in me.

            It would require a genuine statesman/woman with real support in the Dail to emerge to get something moving.

            I guess prefer to live in hope ´cause I don´t like the other options!

        • Adam Byrne

          Thanks Joe R.

          I have my own startup, online based, which is booming at the moment, and my field of study is related to innovation in IT so I do have some experience at the coalface but I will check out that site. I have heard of it before but have not looked into it in detail.



    • bonbon

      In Israel things are not what they seem to casual tourists. A certain shoe factory at Dimona is all that needs to be said.

      Israel, Palestine has one major problem – water. Israel has mastered nuclear power (that shoe factory again) but has not yet applied this to solving the water problem for the entire region, fully within their capabilities. The Oasis Plan has been on the table for more than 40 years.

      Nuclear desalination, making water, is the test of “innovation” or “creativity”. The former is lauded by books, the latter by future generations. Eisenhower was the first to mention this :
      Eisenhower: ‘A Proposal for Our Time’

      Serial sabotage since then has produced the crisis we see now.

      Now let’s look at that “entrepreneurial” thingy again, shall we.

      • Joe R

        Tourists? Shoe factories?

        The foreword is by Shimon Peres. I presume he knows a bit about shoe factories. Netanyahu gave it a big endorsement. Another well known authority on shoe factories.

        The authors, Senor + Singer, are two prominent journalists / business men with impressive CVs. Not sure if they know anything about shoe factories, but possibly they do.

  17. 5Fingers

    Yes David, you can game the leaving cert with rote learning to some degree. It might get you an average mark if you are lucky. People hitting 500 plus are bright by any standard and that is the end of it. The English paper just past can only be scored well if and only if you can write well and understand the topic. I think 99% of your argument bitching about the exam is bogus.

    Collaboration without facilitation and management leads to domination of loud mouths and halos. It is a political herd inducing cesspit where bullying is the order of the day.

    • Adam Byrne

      As David admits Philip, there is no (conclusive) better way right now. You are right that the ‘top top’ (quoting Michael Owen and Harry Redknapp students will still shine through. Exams should be viewed only as a snapshot rather than a regurgitation exercise. We only do 1.5 hour exams in Maynooth (I was horrified to hear that today’s Leaving Cert English exam was 3 hours 20 mins long!) so I have tried to get across my personality and intellect in that time, as much as the obligatory learned facts, and it usually works. In combination with continuous assessments over the semester (in some arbitrary percentage ratio), I can’t see a better way yet, unless technology comes up with something completely new, quite apart from the new methods of delivery (input) as opposed to examination (output). Still, let’s keep an open mind.

      • 5Fingers

        Sorry…but this is the giveaway..”However, a test based on pure individual memory in a world of open, crowd-based collaboration is surely past its sell-by date.”. The Leaving is anything but a test like this. It is a test based on you putting the hours into learning and working. You cannot memorize for Maths, English, History…simple regurgitation will only get you pass mark. Sorry, but the whole thesis is codswallop as are the assertions on collaboration. Makes me wonder what collaboration was being engaged to come up this.

    • bonbon

      I actually agree with what you posted. Very good.

      I believe DMcW has confused schooling with Facebook (crowdiness, bullying herd…).

      Still any teener with a good education and upbringing should be able to see the serial swindles well before they become a herd. And tweeners should realize nothing can stop them.

  18. 5Fingers

    Teaming and collaboration is a very deep topic of study. It has nothing to do with our exam system.

    The leaving cert has one big problem…unequal access to excellent teachers. A lot of the well off can guarantee such access.

    • brentan

      when i had crap teachers, i went online to learn the course. it was a big and pleasant surprise to find out how good the online teaching was compared to these so-called lecturers.

  19. 5Fingers

    All I can say to guys who did the leaving as a rote exercise vomiting out in linear fashion – ye had rubbish teachers who knew nothing of their topic. In all honesty, I find the questions fascinating and bloody demanding of straight thinking. Indeed, many of the questions demand a serious level of maturity rarely found in a 18 to 20 yr old never mind a 16 yr old.

  20. SMOKEY

    I dropped out of school at 13. Went on to get a GED 20 years later out of curiosity. And have never looked back.
    I don’t have the same life experience as someone who went to proms and college so I cant relate.
    “Self made” is the term used for someone who against all odds goes onto do well in life, i.e. financially independent etc.
    I think the best thing about school for me was the social aspect. Access to girls on a regular basis and this was the goal of any guitarist or drummer anyway.
    I left the mid west and went on to play heavy metal in the early 80′s out in California for the most part. Had to hang up my leather jacket for a leather tool bag to get an Electrical contractors license, let me tell you not having the standardised testing practice hurt, but I eventually passed the exams the second time round and got it!
    So now I have two small bambinos in school now and am going to make it there job to study and go to college. They don’t need to know my past until they are finished, wouldn’t want to encourage them to quit like Dad did, that said is there a change on the horizon for them?
    Lots of talk and they wont sit these exams for another 8 and 9 years so perhaps.
    As for the computer games, I limit the time on those bloody things and lego, art supplies, instruments and tons of books are put in there way to help them use the creative part of the brain that I think dies by becoming a button pusher. Just my opinion.

    • Adam Byrne

      You didn’t miss anything in relation to proms etc. Smokey – my own ‘debs’ (after sixth year in secondary school) was cancelled due to lack of interest, everyone just wanted to get the hell out of school and never go back.

      What part of the mid west are you from? I love that part of the States and visit every year.

      I’m on the same page as you with regards to kids, one of the main reasons I went back to college was to increasing my earning power so I can look after my daughter’s future.

      Personally I’ve very little interest in money and could survive on the surface of Mars but I want to give her the best head start I can.

      • bonbon

        Mars, as educated know, would very quickly end your career ether on the way or on landing. Without extreme high-tech, research, test runs, and above all fusion engines, there will be no schools there to educate anyone.

        Obama is shutting all these programs down, and education with it. Look what JFK’s Apollo did for education – have a look at http://www.nasa.gov (surviving in spite of Obama).

        • Adam Byrne

          Yes, I know Mr. bonbon. It was a turn of phrase.

          It’s ridiculous what they are doing with NASA (it should be at the forefront of economic endeavour) so I agree with you.

          Obama is an incompetent fool.

      • SMOKEY

        Des Moines Iowa. Best cottage cheese and corn on the cob in the world. High heat and humidity and the blackest richest soil in the world and you have tomatos in your back garden the size of basketballs too.
        Also great pork but Ireland has good pork too. There is a sandwhich there called a tenderloin.
        Its a pounded pork fillet breaded and deep fried. Its the size of a hubcap and you cant get a bun big enough!
        Italian sausage is sold in patties, you grill it and then put it on fresh crusty french bread with melted mozzarella and roasted bell peppers and a bit of red marinara sauce for a tasty treat to die for. Hungry?? Why is America in the clutch of an obesity crises you say???
        Midwestern girls are fairly tasty too but seeing that this is a family blog I wont go there.
        The music scene was fairly one dimensional when I was a boy in Des Moines so I headed west and never looked back.
        Then of course, boy meets girl, girl gets homesick, girls dad offers free site to build on and Midwestern boy gets here just in time for the recession! You cant make this stuff up.
        As for money Adam? Ive been rich, and Ive been poor. Rich is better. Slan

        • Adam Byrne

          Great, I absolutely love Des Moines. I visited there last August and I always have a few nice Belgian beers in the Royal Mile/Red Monk. They have one that is $40 for a bottle the size of a wine bottle, but it’s well worth it. Stayed at the Renaissance Savery Hotel last time but there are a few nice hotels in the centre. The food is great and the Midwestern girls are sensational and beautiful, everyone is so friendly. I’m doing Chicago this year so I’ll miss Des Moines but I most definitely will be back. Highly recommended, thanks SMOKEY.

  21. BirdCourter

    Good and timely article David. Speaking from experience (and that’s what education is – our personal and collective societal experiences), the really significant education isn’t about the capacity to think, but about the choice of what to think about.

  22. Funny how we have an ‘education’ system still in existence when the majority find it a waste of time or worse.

    My own family are full of teachers and so I had (have) a good respect for the trials that teachers enjure.

    my own experience leads me to conclude that the 12 years of formal schooling could have been finished in three and the rest of the time spent persuing other endevours and interests of more use to me in a future life.

    I personally failed the UK 11 plus exam by not passing the stage one, the IQ test. In fact I answered not a question as I had no idea what I was looking at.I had spent the previous 5 years reading under the desk oblivious of the teachers, and they to me, sitting in the back corner.

    The major events I recall all seem to be the result of admonitions to behave like my elder sisters had before me!(I had no idea what that meant) It changed in the 6th year with a new teacher who consulted with my parents and who took a personal interest in my welfare. In six weeks of summer study I made up all the abandoned subjects of the previous five years.

    Senior school was not much better with teachers terrorizing the students with the fear of failure. So called public schools (actually private)) were not much better and I spent 2 years there familiarizing myself with the aspiring ruling class!! (was that an education)

    One teacher in an English literature class did an exceptional job of inspiring interest by giving us the students projects that we reported upon to the rest of the class. We were all engaged in debate, in arguing with ourselves, in seeing both sides of a question….The author of the story was engaged in social commentary of the times. Discuss…

    Years later in Canada while studying to be a Realtor was when I realized what I had not learned at school and what was so useful to know.

    Basic English common law.
    Statute law relating to Real Estate.
    Finance and the mathematics of finance.
    Managerial studies.
    Motivational studies.

    How usefull is that when engaged in buying a property?? Real life skills information.

    All these and many others were University based courses but done for a fee paid and were part of the educational requirements to be a Realtor in BC. The ongoing educational upgrades were never ending for the following 32 years.

    There were all of great interest and relevence to me and so were addressed with enthusiasm and gusto. That is I think the key to any real education. How relevent it is.

    In later times we pulled our children from the schooling system for a couple of years. The main question we were asked was “But what about their socialization”. “That is exactly what I am trying to avoid “, was my response.


    The take over of the banking system by the current crop of banksters over the last 200 years and particularly since the advent of the Federal Reserve has provided monetary control as well as political control of the majority of countries and particularly the Western Industrial Democracies.

    Money provides the oil to lubricate the political system. Money is provided for research and in particular to educational foundations. The foundations provide funding to the finest and brightest minds in the educational system. These are channeled into the colleges and universities, to sit studies and courses propagated and funded by the same institutions and others to inculcate the ideas and social mores that are in turn taught to the students. Also many aspiring politicians are likewise guided and educated.

    It has been stated, “Give me the mind of a child until age 7 and I will have it for a lifetime”. That is the reason the state is now mandating education. It is also the reason why children are being ushered into the “System” at earlier and earlier ages.

    With the corruption of the monetary system leading to continuous inflation, particularly since 1971 and the removal of any controls imposed by gold, we are subject to the destruction of the family unit by economic means as well as social policies.

    As the currencies are inflated the beneficiaries are those first issued the extra money spent at par. The rest of society is not receiving this money but suffers the results of the devaluation of the currency in less buying power both in wages and savings.The rich and well connected get richer while the middle and working classes are devastated. This results in both parents having to work to survive and in fact a family requires nearly two and a half wages to maintain the buying power they had in the 1960′s and early 70′s.(The buying power of an hour of labour has decreased by 60% since 1970)

    This leads to the requirement for Daycare (Creche) for infants while parents toil for wages. Daycare is not any longer a friend down the road taking in a couple or three extra kids but a state sponsored institution licenced and approved by law and operated by state trained educators.

    Your children are now at reach by the state to be taught attitudes and morals, opinions and ideas, the parents have no control over. Thus the culture is rapidily changed and changing.

    Today’s mothers are already in danger of being little more than brood stock to provide the next generation of workers for the military industrial complex now running the world. Be born, produce offspring, work and die.

    No wonder the educational system does not provide for the proper needs of a complex multi faceted society. The take over is nearly complete.Not something to be taught in the modern classroom. The powers that be prefer the general population be held in blissful ignorance.

    A marvellous book to read is “Think and grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Published first in the 1920′s(I think). It is a real Education. Look it up.

    • bonbon

      Educated people can show that economics does not spring forth spontaneously, in an UNKNOWABLE way from mere metal, be it gold or silver, the mantra of the Austrian School.

      Educated people will not accept the Adam Smith axiom of unknowability as decreed in various classroom texts.

      Educated people are not fooled.

      Does the Austrian School have a Leaving Cert?

      • You continually spring forward in an unknowable way, but without spontanaity.

        You are completely wrong , misinformed, and completely lack an education on the principles of sound money.

        The period of a real proper gold standard of 1870-1900 was the time of the greatest growth in the US economy when all people benefited from the gigantic economic expansion.

      • bonbon

        I’m afraid you never heard of the Long Depression caused by the Specie Resumption Act. This Act actually brought the FED into being. The so-called “gold-standard” – look what it did:
        For everyone’s edification :

        • It is very good that you posted the link on the Specie Resumption Act. I encourage all to read it now.

          The discussion presented supports my position entirely. It is not my opinion , of course , but a series of facts which lay out the case.

          The US civil war involved the printing of unbacked paper money (just as today) which resulted in high inflation (as today) which resulted in misallocaTION OF CAPITAL (AS TODAY) which caused business failure and the onset of depression (as today).
          The depression was already 2 years advanced before the Specie Resumption Act was made law.

          the passing of this law did NOT start the depression. The profligate printing of unbacked paper money did. (Just as today)

          Just as today there are advocates pro and con for sound money. It just depends on which side your bread is buttered.

          Genreally speaking unbacked paper money benefits the manipulators and pauperizes the middle and working classes whereas specie money, honest money, stabilizes the economy for general growth that benefits all.

          I prefer the latter

          The passage of the act was an attempt to curtail inflation and restore the nation to sound money and banking practice.

          It worked. The following period to before the first world war saw the greatest industrial expansion seen by any nation on earth.

          • bonbon

            ‘The decision further contracted the nation’s money supply and was seen by critics as an exacerbating factor of the so-called “Long Depression” which struck in 1873.’

            Lincoln’s Greenback was key to actually defeating US fascism, the CSA. The decision to move to gold was catastrophic. Any attempt to move to gold now would cause a depression beyond the comprehension of most. The contraction of credit (with massive money printing) is already catastrophic.

            Anyway the greatest industrial expansion in history only occurred because the Union won and rapidly spread to Germany and Japan with Bismarck and the Meji Restoration.

          • All credit based expansion of the economy, that is expansions using excessive amounts of borrowed money, result in a debt based boom. The following bust is unavoidable.

            Blaming the gold standard for the depression is like blaming the medicine for causing the sickness.

            The expression “seen by critics” limits the opinon you express to just them but does not alter the truth of the matter.

            You have the cart before the horse.

          • bonbon

            The truth is contraction of credit in the physical economy made extreme by “hard money” caused the Long Depression, only eclipsed by the Great Depression. This is why everyone knows there is a problem. Draghi/Bernanke are driven insane by their monetarist schizophrenia, just like goldbugs who actually have the same infection. The Long and Great Depressions are lessons in insanity, like the Plagues of yore.

  23. Mr Happy Dole Dude

    Some statistics suggest that as much as 80% of the people in prison are dyslexic this is an egregiously flagrant abuse of a group of people that do not conform to the norms in the education system.

    It appears that it is beyond the wit of those in charge to find a solution other than imprison people for not be able to learn by rote and at a cost that far outweighs the cost of a specialised education system.

    Ireland needs to research ways to improved the system learning and teaching.

    When deciding policy Ireland as a small country depends on research from lager countries usually English speaking countries such as the USA and UK.
    (Below is an extract:
    “U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million.

    According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.”)

    93% of paints and paintbrushes 36% of home appliances WOW All this at 25 cent an hour labour cost no strikes beat that China and Bangladesh and no conscientious objections are tolerated when it come to making warmongering goods. Slavery is alive and well in the USA.

    Why can’t the captive labour force make these goods outside of the prison system, clearly a lack of education is not stopping them from been productive but rather the perceptions of employers is, this along with no certification helps to fill prisons and at a high cost.

    The privatisation of prison in these countries has led to slave labour this is not cheap labour as the cost to state in running these prisons far outweighs and saving to the state for the goods produced. The private company do gain immensely as they are not directly absorbing prison cost so this profit margin has encouraged them to imprison people.

    Ireland needs its own research depending on the likes of the USA/ UK for research is dangerous.

    Empty prisons, a lager workforce and less crime could be the result of investment in research on an inclusive education system for all ‘individuals’ not just for those that follow a recipe or have the average brain type.

    The likes dyslexia is frustrating for those that have it and it can cause massive anger, maybe even more so for those with high IQs and the solution is to put them in a prison.

    A Primitive Dickensian solution for a failure to education

  24. 5Fingers

    I’ll take a rather ruthless view of the educational requirements needed today. In the process, I see nothing better than the Irish educational system (equipped with the best teachers) to do the job correctly. Technology offers no more than a decorative backdrop and seeks more to demean the role of the teacher to that of an edutainer.

    If you want deep knowledge, deep development and real progress, you will not do it with a nation full of coffee shops and pubs. You need a cohort of well round individuals who are educated to high degree level in a number of primary disciplines – call it hard sciences, call it deep academia, call it what you like. The people concerned will not come from the nonsense promulgated here of the so called “university of life”.

    You can throw all the money you like at a problem, but if you only have idiots executing, you’re sunk.

    Unlike David’s headline, , the evidence is very clear and stark that for the majority, a good life follows more reliably from a good leaving cert. What life there is otherwise is seat of the pants fancy which suits the lucky and the brave – and a lot of them really do not have a life unfortunately.

    My main problem is that the upper percentile move to hi-paying jobs which are outside of education. This is terrible. It should take 600 points to be allowed into teaching and it should be a 200K a year job with bonuses attached. Teachers should be looked up to and should be regularly fired. Instead it is very much the opposite and as such our whining about education will remain unchanged accordingly.

    • bonbon

      The problem of the 1% getting obscenely rewarded for looting is only dealt with Glass-Steagall. That is simply the single way to deal with this. At the same time credit for massive programs needing all levels of skills. That is what will drive education, not the other way around.

      That is what Hamiltonian economics is all about. That is why the bubble banker money printing does not work. This is why we must learn a.s.a.p all about an economics never even whispered for the Leaving Cert. Coincidence?

      • We already have massive credit applications. In Japans case for nearly 20 years to no avail.

        Hamilton was a statist and his central bank similar to those of today. enough is enough.

        return the money to the people and base it on honest money not the crooked schemes of centralized banking as you propose.

        China and Russia are leading the way.The west falls far behind. There is no hope with the current crop of credit based advocates.

        • 5Fingers

          Funny thing about Russia and China…their entry requirements and fussiness about academic excellence in the hard sciences pretty well mimicks the leaving on those subjects. You could be right. Maybe their educational system might be influencing this drive you reference

        • bonbon

          China is following FDR, simply said often by various speakers there. Now that leads nutcases to claim FDR was a communist, and the next moment the exact opposite because he gave Wall Street a beating they never forgot. Never mind Hayek’s “statist” hysteria, the only socialism existing now is balout/in’s for the banks.

          The synthetic mountain of debt will be dumped (or there is no future), and then massive recovery can begin. China fully understands this – it matches the Confucian culture.

          • china is accumulating gold at a rapid pace. They understand the ravages of the inflation producing paper money, having invented it.
            Likewise they understand the benefits of specie money, honest money, having used it for centuries.

            They are in the process of enchanging the mountains of US treasury notes , held as reserves, for solid assets of all kinds.They are heavily involved in Africa and now extending investment into Europe and the Americas.

            Those who are swapping their assets for paper promises to pay are getting the short end of the stick.

          • bonbon

            China has one big problem, and they know it. If the transatlantic collapses its copy-sell market vanishes. That old strategy which gave us Foxcon is a failure. The alternative is FDR’s, like the 3-Gorges Dam. And that actually is inspired by the Shannon Scheme! The New Deal TVA chief Lillienthal inspired the 3-Gorges Dam after FDR heard about the Irish Scheme.

            The rail net designed by Sun Yat-Sen, modern China’s founder, is now on the way to being done, with highspeed links to Europe via Russia, a modern Silk road, we call the Eurasian Landbridge.

        • bonbon

          Japan’s problems began with the Plaza Accords. Playing fiddle for Wall Street.

  25. Mr Happy Dole Dude

    “No matter how you do, there is life after the Leaving Cert” – or death…

    A meaningless headline

    Sack the sub editor

  26. crazy cat

    French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu had quite a bit to say on education, sums up a lot of what has been said here



  27. Robot technology, emigration, double digit employment, pension crisis.. If its going to be a jobless world… Why bother study? http://www.weeklywaffle.ie

  28. Humans will be pushed to rapidly adapt to the needs of technology and it’s 24 hour, 7 day schedule.

    The 99% will be increasingly exploited, bombed, imprisoned and enslaved to meet the wants of the 1%

    The 99% will be serving technology.
    Technology will be enslaving people.

  29. Adelaide

    I know of a well-known Irish IT company who have ‘informally’ ceased interviewing Irish IT graduates for entry positions due to their substandard record in service, and that’s the minority of Irish graduates who passed their interviewing/’problem-solving tests’ process, the majority fail the tests. But not Eastern European applicants, they fly through the process and excel in the job, so much so that the company is happy to entertain applicants from Eastern Europe who lack formal qualifications.. The third level in the West is nothing more than a crony business propped up by the requirement for a degree which is an artificial barrier to generate revenue for obsolete ‘educational’ institutions and a sop for under-funded HR departments. To appreciate the original purpose of early colleges/universities one could not do better than read the biography of Galileo… Now there’s a self-made man who became an overnight success when he was middle-aged, an inspirational ‘outsider’ character, gives hope to anyone struggling to make it.

    • bonbon

      Of course the “well-known” company has no interest in paying eastern applicants less. I know other “well known” companies doing exactly that all over the EU and using the same argument for the gullible not prepared by a decent leaving cert.

      As for Galileo, he was sent a copy of Kepler’s New Astronomy and told a close crony he understood not one word! He obviously could not handle an elliptical orbit and universal gravitation, both discovered only by Kepler. In other words Galileo was thick! And praised by Uni’s and schools which brings us back to the Leaving Cert – it never even mentions Kepler.

    • Third level computing is pretty hard at 3rd year and the drop out rate is high. Problem is they force people to use toolkits and not program. Dot net, Java and all that. That is not programming because these toolkits are just libraries and you only need to learn the lingo and how to wire the parts together. It’s boring. Better to grab a Linux box and learn some proper programming!

      Real programmers program and don’t care about degrees and that is why self taught programmers are often superior. It’s no surprise that IT firms are cottoning on but the question is why would talented programmers want to go and work for them?

      If a programmer is that talented then he would not need to.
      He’ll be self employed and taking 3 months hols in Spain and work when he wants

      • bonbon

        Hols in Spain? Well there is no work there. I remember Greece was a nice place for hols, before it was destroyed by the Troika.

        It’s hard for “talent” to take hols in this wonderful techie world, is’nt it.

  30. It takes a brave person to write about their personal life and communicate intimately but there will always be detractors who don’t have the grace to accept when a man is trying to be sincere philosophically and just wants a chat with his pals. Come on. David is flogging tickets for a book fest. If you have the dough just buy a fucking ticket or go away and troll some other blog. He knows who his pals are

    We have said many things over the years. We never meet but we feel we know each other intimately. We are all hooked on the buzz and quality of debate on the blog even if the MSM never read us (I suspect they do because they would love such unfettered and unrestricted freedom) which is the way I want it to stay

    If anyone wants a barney and let something go then bring it on. This is no place for wee diddys when it comes to the crunch (Sean Fallon) ouch!

    The Iron Man of the Celtic defence of the 1950s (for the wippersnappers)

    Some of the posts below the article are bitter, wretched and show us how bad the Irish people were affected in their Albanian style past promulgated by Dev and the Bishop whose c%^k he was so fond of fonderling

    I believe fonderling is not as proper hinglish word and using it in such an unceratain context renders me un-suable. Its’ like we are returning to mass rocks and poems and ballads with ambiguous meanings to defy the authorities. I am not joking

    Free Software is an example of what is possible when humans collaborate under a peer reviewed system of protocols. Without such collaboration your blog would not exist as it is built on the knowledge of people who give their time freely for the greater good without expecting to be rewarded. People love to give and that is the way were were made. End of

    It is an animalistic thing and our sense of altruism is akin to how animals and insects behave. Contrary to your arrogant view of evolution I believe animals are far superior to humans in many ways

    After the experience of having watched a family of wild cats and taking responsibility for their welfare when my neighbour would have drowned them without blinking I have watched them grow up. They are neutred and there are 7 of them. I am their major food source and in the winter they all pile into a cardboard box under the kitchen table and do the huddle. They are fascinating and inspiring

    The big Tom who is the Boss Cat sometimes comes to the window asking for food but if one of the youngsters wants to eat he stands back until they have finished

    Then I think of the Me Me Me generation. You talk about collaboration but people are plugged in 24/4 to the Me Me Me machine. Er don’t you see a dichotomy?

    It will get worse before it gets ant better.

    Sorry for such heaviness on such a glorious week. Let me make it to you old bhoy

    Summer 1972

  31. bonbon

    President Michael D., on a state tour in Croatia, spoke on “The Future of Europe,” at the University of Zagreb, June 6. Referring to the “harsh consequences” on Ireland from the debt and banking crisis, he explained, “International consequences that flowed from the relaxation of the conditions of the Glass-Steagall Act, and the flood of derivatives into the global financial system, led to a banking crisis.” (www.president.ie)

    That should be on the Leaving Cert curriculum.

    • And how is Higgings all of a sudden an expert on GS?

      • bonbon

        He has always said this, even before election. He said it at the LSE as well. In fact he is the only president I know of (except maybe Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner) that clearly says this any chance he gets.

        Whether Croatia has the sense to avoid the Euro like the plague, I am not sure. They say the Kuna will stay.

  32. bonbon

    Have a look at the link between education and employment, especially now in the onrushing depression :

    ILO report on EU jobs
    This is the ILO’s World of Work

    “Low-skilled workers too are disproportionately affected by unemployment. The unemployment rate among workers with primary or low secondary education is three times as high as in the case of workers with tertiary education. Employment among workers with tertiary education grew by 12.6 per cent between 2008 and 2012, while employment among workers with primary and low secondary education fell by close to 17 per cent during the same period.”

    Consider this at the Dalkey Book Festival, DMcW – I hope someone brings the ILO report for discussion.

  33. Nono

    Hi David, reading your article, I couldn’t help but think of Sir Ken Robonson’s speech on Education and how it kills human creativity. He’s a brilliant speaker and those who haven’t heard his ideas on education, please have a look at the video link: http://youtu.be/zDZFcDGpL4U, it’s excellent!
    As for inventing a new type of education, one that would be relevant to our time, using peers and technology to learn and progress, it is being done in the US, check out this guy: Salman Khan and his revolutionary way of teaching: http://youtu.be/nTFEUsudhfs

    Last thing, to the webmaster, I couldn’t log in and post a comment using Mozilla Firefox, it kept on asking me to login. I had to resort to dreadful Internet Explorer to get it to work…

    • bonbon

      Education ” that would be relevant to our time, ” ? That means relevant to a catastrophic economic collapse across the entire transatlantic region, including the US. That education should prioritize exactly how this is happening and how to deal with it.

      This is the test of any education.

  34. bonbon

    Education involves homework!

    Pope Francis to Youth: Homework Is “To Free Humanity From Economic and Social Structures Enslaving Us.

    Now there is a difficult task! But explained so succinctly! Fly, thoughts, on wings of gold.

    • Really.

      Says what and why should we care?

      I won’t click it and here’s why

      Headline, tagline and hook Adam.

      Are you not supposed to be a social media guru?

      Don’t sound like one.

      Another pretender who is procrastinating?

      FFs Adam. Just bloody well go for it. You know you can!

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