Of glass ceilings and glass slippers

In October 1983 the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution became law following a referendum that resulted in a two-to-one majority for its inclusion. More than three decades later, a second referendum returned a two-to-one majority for its repeal in the centenary year of Irish women’s suffrage. It seems fitting to ask whether the significant change in attitude signalled by the vote to give women the right to make their own healthcare decisions translates into changes in the status of women in Ireland more generally.

Is the Leaving Certificate fit for purpose?

A new study reveals a disconnect between what students are taught at secondary school and the skills required for third-level study. A large majority of first-year undergraduates at DCU said that they had not been prepared to critically review evidence, to identify and compare sources of information, to use evidence to inform opinions, to interrogate ideas—essentially higher-order thinking skills. Two young people I know recently passed their Leaving Certificate in English, with honours, but without reading the assigned texts; instead, they simply memorised bullet lists of facts supplied by textbooks and teachers. That is, they left school qualified but not educated. And unprepared for the active role demanded of them at third level.