Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 11 Jun 1958

Vol. 168 No. 11

Committee on Finance. - Votáta 37—Oiffig an Aire Oideachais (d'atógaint).

D'atógadh an díospóireacht ar an dtairiscint seo mar a leanas:—
"Go gcuirfí an Meastachán ar ais chun athbhreithniú a dhéanamh air."—(Risteárd Ua Maolchatha; Dr. Browne.)

The pleasing feature of this debate is the number of Deputies who have taken part in it. They seemed to express their opinions as individuals and as representing the views of various communities. They have, perhaps, given some very useful information in connection with primary, secondary, vocational and university education. It is only right that a deep interest should be taken in this Vote because education is the foundation of all progress in the State. It is necessary for the benefit of our agriculturists, industrialists, workers of all kinds, and those who enter the professions. While the views expressed may not receive any due consideration from the Minister or the high officials of his Department, nevertheless it is well to have them on record and, as I have said, it is gratifying to note that Deputies on all sides of the House are interested in education.

I always notice at election times that the word "education" is never mentioned—evidently because it must not be a very popular subject with the community at large. That may have been so in the past, but I think that at present all sections of our people are deeply interested in educational advancement, because they realise the necessity for it.

In his opening statement, the Minister expressed his views very clearly and fully. One of the most pleasing changes in educational policy which he announced was that in relation to the removal of the marriage ban. Agitation for the removal of that ban has been going on for the past 24 years, since it was first imposed, I think, in the year 1934.

When we consider this Estimate, we must think of the child, the home of the child, the teacher, the school programme, the school building, its environment and also, perhaps, our managerial system. When a child enters school at four, five or six years of age, he or she enters, as it were, a new world and I am sure the child is full of hope and wonder. A great deal will depend on its home environment up to that stage and afterwards during the whole course of its childhood. A good teacher will always deal with a child from the knowledge he or she has of the home life of the child. In order to deal with that aspect of education, a teacher must surely have the necessary training qualifications. It is well, therefore, that at least one step is being taken to ensure that, within a certain period, we shall, I hope, have qualified teachers in all our schools.

We have numerous unqualified teachers—teachers who never entered a training college—who are doing very well in educating children. Qualified teachers are very slow to accept positions in remote country schools and, in that case, the Department must sanction the appointment of unqualified teachers. In these remote districts, the only education children can get is that which is available to them in the primary school. They are far away from secondary schools and very vocational schools. It is, perhaps, very seldom that the parents can afford to send them to a boarding school, a vocational school or a university.

With further reference to the training of teachers, I think that, along with the percentage who enter the training college from preparatory schools, it would be well if the Minister would consider allowing university graduates to enter the training college for at least a course of one years, so that such students could learn all about the practice of teaching, psychology and teaching methods. In that way in addition to those teachers who are trained from the leaving certificate and from the preparatory colleges—and now, with the return of married women teachers —we would eventually have a sufficient number of qualified teachers for all our schools. That would also help to ensure that there would be no further understaffing of schools.

People should realise and understand clearly that where a teacher has to deal with 50, 60 or 70 children in one class the teacher cannot impart the individual education that is required and necessary. In schools, both two-teacher and three-teacher schools, there is a teacher in charge of a number of groups of classes. One teacher may be in charge of infants, first, second, third and fourth classes and another teacher in charge of fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth classes. In cases such as that it is impossible to deal with the children in the manner necessary for their educational advancement. The Minister, therefore, should consider the lowering of the average required for the appointment of a first assistant, a second assistant and so on in proportion to the number of children in a school. In that way there would be sufficient staffing of schools and it would lead to an advancement in general education standards. It would also assist the revival of the Irish language.

It is well that the Minister has introduced the scheme by which candidates for the teaching profession, enterants to the training colleges, are to be interviewed before they are called to training. He who aspires to be a teacher should really have a vocation for it. A vocation for teaching is just as necessary as a vocation in a candidate for the priesthood, for nursing, and in fact for any occupation at all. An individual must have a certain desire to undertake the work; it can happen that even a genius may be a very bad teacher. There are certain tests which indicate whether a person is capable of dealing with children; a great part depends on the character and personality of the teachers. I am sure that all the officials of the Department, inspectors and others, know that some very highly qualified men and women have proven to be hopeless as teachers.

There is a certain method by which a person can deal with children and control them without being harsh. There is a certain way in which knowledge can best the imparted. To achieve that in the proper way is one of the most difficult tasks of all. One must impart knowledge in a way that a child will be able to follow what is taught. One must be able to deal with children in such a way that they will be anxious to learn because of the love and respect which they have for their teacher. Therefore, it is most necessary to have the right type of teacher. No boy or girl should enter the teaching profession unless he or she a vocation for the work. Having entered the profession with that vocation, and having gained the necessary experience, a teacher can lead children to study the required subjects without having recourse to any harsh method of punishment.

Though I admit that Deputy Dr. Browne's contribution to this debate was interesting, I should not like to have him as Minister for Education because he has certain views with which experienced teachers would not agree. We all know that in the olden days teachers were supposed to be very harsh on children. I do not know how true that is but my own experience, during my period in school, was that I cried when two of my teachers passed away in middle age. I am sure if teachers could inculate real love and respect in the minds of children they would have no difficulty in controlling them at school. Of course, the conduct of the child at school depends a great deal on his conduct at home.

If parents control their children properly at home, if they see to it that they do their homework—not difficult homework—if they see to it that the children attend to their duties and are respectful and obedient to them, then I am sure the children will prove good pupils in the schools and will give no trouble. That has been the experience of many teachers. Some children are difficult to manage but teachers may be aware of the home lives of those children and will understand their weakness and make provision for them.

The present school programme was established as the result of a programme conference in 1923 or 1924. There have since been some revisions and I think the time has come to carry out a further revision. However, in that regard it might be better to wait until we see the results of the inquiry into the teaching of Irish in the schools and how best it may be promoted after leaving school.

Many Deputies and other people have the idea that instruction in agriculture should be part of the primary school programme. There is no time for it nor is there any opportunity of carrying it out in a particular way. In the early days of this century there was a certain amount of theoretical agriculture taught. There was a book by Professor Baldwin and it was certainly a most useful instrument for imparting agricultural knowledge in the schools. In schools where the teachers had land of their own, or had access to the lands of other people, some practical work was done in agriculture which was very useful. However, nowadays my belief is that agricultural education should form part of vocational education, but if there could be an agricultural bias given in the primary schools by the issue of suitable school books it would be all to the good.

The whole question of school books is a rather troublesome one. They have been changed from year to year though I believe there has been some alteration in that respect recently. School books are so dear that it is very difficult for parents in poor areas to purchase them for their children year after year. In fact there are many of these books dealing not only with Irish and English but also with history and geography which are not in any way suitable for their purposes. The teacher's organisation down through the years has asked that good types of school books should be issued.

In fact, much of the trouble about reviving Irish is caused by the lack of suitable books. Translations published by An Gúm were destroyed recently. I do not know why. There are periodicals published in Irish, some of which are not of much use. There is one periodical called Amárach which is about the best Irish periodical that we have seen for some time. It might be no harm if the Minister would consider helping it in some way by a grant as, otherwise, there is a danger that it may have to cease production.

While I am dealing with the school programme, I may as well refer to the burning question of the revival of Irish. I do not think that expression should be used because the Irish language has never died in this country, even after its suppression for over 700 years. Some fanatics think that Irish should be revived within a few years. If the effort to destroy the language took 700 years, very good work will be done if in 100 years the language will be revived and spoken by the majority of the people.

It has been suggested that Irish as a compulsory school subject has retarded the educational advancement of pupils. In the real sense, it is not a compulsory subject any more than English, arithmetic or other subjects in the school curriculum. It is understood by those who know that where a teacher is not competent to teach subjects through the medium of Irish, he is not compelled to do so. Subjects are not taught through the medium of Irish unless the teacher is qualified to do it and the children are capable of assimilating the knowledge so imparted. There is a difference of opinion about teaching infants through the medium of Irish only. That is one of the matters that should be, and will be considered, of course, by the commission of inquiry that the Minister is about to set up.

So far as my knowledge goes, and I had 43 years' experience as a teacher, I do not think that the teaching of Irish in the schools in any way hindered the educational advancement of the children. On the contrary, it was a means by which their mental development was promoted. Even though a second language is not taught in the primary schools of other countries, with the possible exception of Wales, it would be very foolish, very unwise, to change the policy adopted here. It is only in the schools that any attempt is being made to revive the language. Until the language is spoken at home by parents and members of families, to whatever extent they know the language, the revival will be slow and perhaps will never be achieved.

People ask why should we teach Irish to children when they have to emigrate. We do not educate our children for emigration. Certainly we should keep in mind that, whether our people stay at home or emigrate, they should receive the best education possible so that they will be good citizens of this State or good citizens of the country of their adoption. In England, and perhaps also in the United States of America, wherever the Irish congregate, Irish classes are promoted. When I was in London many years ago Irish classes were carried on there. Were the Government to prohibit the teaching of Irish, it might be one way of hastening the revival of Irish. It was during the English réigime, when the British had control of education in this country, that the people were enthusiastic about the study of Irish. Years before this State was set up, teachers voluntarily attended Irish colleges and did everything in their power to acquire a knowledge of the language so that they could teach it in their schools.

At one period in our history, at the foundation of the State, some of the schools were in a shocking condition but it must be admitted that we have now some of the finest schools in the world. Their construction has been expensive, perhaps a little too expensive, because the lifetime of a school is only about 50 years and, perhaps, if less expensive schools were built, there could be more new and reconstructed schools. Deputy Jones recommended the adoption of a standard plan for the various types of schools, single-teacher, two-teacher, three-teacher schools, and so on. That would save a great deal of expense, such as the cost of employing an architect, and so on. I suppose the idea behind the present system is that a school building should be in conformity with its surroundings.

There are still schools which are not fit for children or for teachers but it will be admitted that, to the extent permitted by our financial resources, vast improvements have been made. There are often difficulties about sites and there is still the old trouble— shortage of money. It is well to know that after the lapse of nine or ten years nearly all our schools will be in a pretty good condition. In this matter consideration should not be confined to cities and towns. It is important that the school in the remotest area should be as well constructed and as neatly kept as schools in cities or towns.

It is regrettable that, owing to the decline in the population and the consequent decline in the average number of pupils, a number of rural schools have been closed down. In certain areas, the school was always the cultural centre. Even where there are only seven or eight pupils, the teacher should be maintained. The trouble, of course, is to get teachers to stay in such schools. Perhaps an enticement would be to give teachers in such schools the same basic salary and the same maximum salary payable to a teacher in a two-teacher or three-teacher school. The capitation grant, or the principal's allowance as it is called, could also be increased. There is a great difference between the principal's allowance in a small school and in a large school. After all, the teacher in a small school must teach all subjects and, in fact, must teach them under greater difficulties than if he or she were in a large school. I think if teachers were treated in a more generous way in regard to salaries and principals' allowances it would be an enticement to qualified teachers to accept appointments in those schools.

In years gone by a teacher always lived near his or her school, lived among the people and was associated with them in many ways. The teachers knew the conditions of the various families and in that way were in a better position to deal with their pupils and also to be more helpful to the parents. Now, owing to the development of transport and other amenities, teachers live in the towns and villages. You can do nothing about that because this is a free country and they must be allowed to live wherever they like.

There is also the difficulty about sanitation and the heating and cleaning of schools. The grant for heating and cleaning is entirely too small. It will take just as much to heat a room in a small school as a room in a large school. Where you have, say, a two-teacher school you must have two fires to heat that school. A conference took place some time ago between the managers and representatives of the I.N.T.O. and the Department, in connection with this matter. I do not know if anything has come of it but I should like the Minister to look into it if a report has been received from that conference. He should try to increase the grants if at all possible, to ensure the better heating and cleaning of schools. It is not right that teachers and pupils should have to sweep the schools and wash the floors. We did it and it was done well but in this modern age I do not think the parents like their children to do it, although personally I do not think it would do them much harm.

The managerial system has been in operation in this country down the years and I am sure that neither the teachers nor the Department wish to have any alteration in it. It is working perfectly. It is only right that the clergy of the various denominations should have control of the schools to a certain extent and be in a position to help the teachers in imparting religious instruction. There have been grievances in regard to the inspector system. There have been improvements but one peculiar matter was introduced after the foundation of the State. Merit marks for each subject were then introduced, whereas before that there was just one general report given by the inspector on the general working of a school.

Anybody conversant with education who enters a schoolroom knows at once whether that school is run efficiently or otherwise. There is always something about the appearance of the school, its tidiness and so on, which creates a certain impression. There is something about the children, their courtesy, manners and general appearance and the bearing of the teacher himself which influences that impression. Even without examining the children at all, I am sure the inspector, or whoever enters the school, will get a certain impression, good or otherwise, so that there should be no necessity for these merit marks on different subjects. The I.N.T.O. down the years has demanded the abolition of these merit marks and it would be well if the Minister reviewed the matter now with a view to altering it.

There is the other question of the primary certificate examination which is compulsory. I think I cannot do better than to quote what the Taoiseach said on one occasion. For a short period, I think in 1944 and 1945, he himself acted temporarily as Minister for Education, and he was not a bad Minister either. He spoke at the I.N.T.O. Congress in Kilkee at Easter in 1955, and was reported as saying:—

"The matter of the primary leaving certificate examination had been mentioned often and to-day again the matter had been stressed in the address of the President of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation.

‘I must confess,' said Mr. de Valera, ‘that I did not know this examination was compulsory.

("Oh" from audience).

‘I did not know that it was compulsory in the sense that every child must go for it.'"

Then he said:—

"I do not think that can be defended. It was a shock to me to find I was not aware of that. As your president said, every pupil in a secondary school is not required to sit for the secondary leaving certificate. I think there should be inducement rather than compulsion. The method of examination is another matter. When a standard has been reached it is right that some certificate be given at the end of the course to indicate that a certain standard has been reached. I think that can be achieved. I do, however, feel that the compulsion to sit for the examination is indefensible."

I hope the Minister will consider that from his chief and that some alteration will be made in connection with the compulsory primary certificate examination. Perhaps the teacher should be in a position to give a certificate of merit to each deserving child when he or she has completed, say, the sixth standard, or whenever the pupil is about to leave the school.

However, that is a matter for consideration but it is ridiculous for pupils who are mentally deficient in some way to be put forward for a primary certificate examination. The teacher is obliged to put forward every child who has spent one year in the sixth standard. I have referred to mentally deficient children and it is a pity that something could not be done for those retarded children in the schools. Because of our system of inspection and because of the primary certificate examination and the understanding of schools, teachers cannot give to mentally deficient children, the attention that such children deserve if they are to be helped. They are kept back in classes because of their deficiency and I am sure that they feel that; it gives them a certain inferiority complex. They cannot follow the course in the same way as children of the same age who came to school with them when they entered.

It would not be possible to put these children into a separate class because they would feel that also. Perhaps we could have one teacher for that type of children, but I am afraid that would not work out. It is a pity nothing can be done for them. There is only one hope for them. You often find that these retarded children, who are very slow to learn in the primary school, in many cases are wonderful at manual work if they have an opportunity of attending a vocational school. I have known several examples of that. The pity is, of course, that there are so few vocational schools in the country at present, and consequently those living in remote areas cannot get that opportunity.

I had better not say too much about vocational education because I have spoken for too long already, but I think it is true that no grants are given by the State for the erection of secondary schools. If a teacher qualifies as a secondary teacher and wants to set up a school, he must provide premises himself. The numbers attending secondary schools prove that our people are anxious to have secondary education. The Minister should seriously consider allowing grants to help teachers build secondary schools. We know that the religious bodies have such schools, but that is a different matter altogether. They are doing wonderful work.

As regards vocational education, I think that the proper age for a child to enter a vocational school is about 16 years. A child, having finished its primary education, would attend a secondary school for two years. If such a secondary school is not available there should be attached to every national school a higher primary school in which extra subjects would be taught, perhaps by a special teacher. It would be recognised more or less as a type of secondary education. After two years there, the child would be well equipped to enter a vocational school. Consequently, it would not be necessary, as it is at present, to teach such subjects as arithmetic and English in the vocational schools.

The proper subjects for vocational schools would be rural science, domestic economy—cookery, laundry, housework of different kinds—woodwork, metal work, religious instruction and a continuation of the teaching of Irish. In that way we would be helping the revival of the language, first in the primary school, then in the high primary, then in the secondary school and vocational school up to the age of 18.

It is regrettable that people who must leave the country have to be regarded as unskilled workers. Provision should be made, as I hope it will be, to ensure that all our children will have primary education, a certain amount of secondary education and certainly a thorough vocational education to equip them for life in a difficult world. Certain critics have said that the children leaving our schools now are illiterate or semi-illiterate. Nowadays, our children gain various kinds of knowledge in a broad way. In the early days of the national schools, and up to about 30 or 40 years ago, we just had what we called "the three R's" and a certain amount of geography and history. Of course, it was not correct history. By the way, that is one subject that should be well taught in every school, primary and secondary. If we are to maintain a love of country we should have a thorough knowledge of its past history and of the men who helped to make it great.

If, after leaving school, our children continue studying on their own, I think we could hold that, with such general knowledge, they could compete with the children of the schools of any other country. If the children attending school regularly are helped with their lessons at home and if, after school, they read good books, newspapers and periodicals and gain a thorough knowledge, not only of the affairs of their own country but of international affairs as well, I think that, with their native wit and humour, our children could compare favourably with the children of any other country.

There is no use in people being so pessimistic about our educational system. It is as perfect as it can be within the limits of the financial resources available. I am sure that if teachers and pupils do their work, all will be well with Irish education. I should like to pay a tribute to the officials of the Department who have always been very helpful to managers and teachers and, I suppose, Deputies and Senators.

Before I finish I wish to refer to one aspect of education concerning former teachers. I am referring now to what are called the pre-1950 pensioned teachers.

Hear, hear!

I need not dwell too long on this matter. The Minister is well aware of the position. It was regrettable that the Education (Amendment) Act passed in the summer of 1950 excluded teachers who retired before the 1st January, 1950. I shall give an example to show how this worked out and how unfair it is. Say that a teacher in Kerry was born on 4-1-85, was trained in the period 1904-1906 and retired on 31-3-50 with 43 years' service. That teacher got nearly £1,000 of a gratuity on retirement. Another teacher born on 21st November, 1884, much the same time, trained 1904-1906 in the same college as the first teacher, retired on 31st December, 1949, and got no gratuity. It is most unfair that that should happen. It is rather strange that in the neighbourhood of my own town of Kenmare, there are two teachers, one of whom retired on 31st December, 1949, because he was 65 years of age in November of that year, while a neighbouring teacher, and a great friend of his, reached the age of 65 on 4th January, 1950, and on 31st March received a gratuity of £835. The Minister knows how the first teacher must feel.

I know that Ministers for Education in the past have seen the injustice of this and have claimed it is impossible to remedy the situation because of shortage of money. May I point out that only one payment will be involved? There will be no recurring payments. These teachers are gradually passing away. The amount required to cover the gratuities to which we feel they are justly entitled is something in the neighbourhood of £650,000. Those affected would be quite satisfied if the payments were spread over a year or two.

When Deputy Mulcahy was Minister for Education from 1948 to 1951, he increased the pensions for pensioned teachers. He also introduced these gratuities. The measure was a good one, but unfortunately it did not go far enough. It has that one fault. When the late Deputy Moylan became Minister for Education, he also tried to do something to rectify the injustice by paying about one-third of the gratuity to the teachers affected, but, in order not to commit himself, he called the payment an ex gratia grant. The conditions of the payment were similar to the conditions underlying the payment of the gratuities.

Each of those Ministers did something to help pensioned teachers. Would the present Minister now seriously consider completing the good work and paying the dwindling number of teachers affected the remainder of the gratuity? If he does that, he will not only have the gratitude of the teachers concerned but the gratitude of all the members of the I.N.T.O. In fact, members of public bodies see the injustice of the present position and have recommended that the money should be paid.

Is maith an rud é, im' thuairimse, go mbíonn ócáid mar seo againne gach blian i ndiaidh a chéile chun tuairimí na dTeachtaí a chloisint le linn Meastacháin na Roinne Oideachais a bheith á bplé ar conus is féidir feabhas a chur ar scéimeanna oideachais a bhíonn ar siúl. Go deimhin, tá na scéimeanna go h-anamhaith ar fad ach is ceart dúinn féachaint isteach iontú go minic chun a fheiscint an bhfuil aon rud tairbheach gur féidir linn a dhéanamh chun a feabhas éigin a chur ortha.

Deirtear nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge ag dul chun cinn sa tír seo. Ní aontaím leis sin. Chífeadh aon duine a bheadh i láthair, cuir i gcás, nuair a bhíonn Feis na Scol ar siúl i gCorcaigh ar feadh seachtaine gach bliain agus na daltai scoile ina mílte bailithe ann agus teanga na tíre á labhairt acu, go bhfuil an Ghaeilge ag dul chun cinn. Agus lá feise nó ócáid mar sin nuair a chloisfidís na daoine a bhíonn bailithe i bparóiste éigin sa tír ag labhairt Gaeilge, bheadh fhios acu go bhfuil an Ghaeilge ag dul ar aghaidh agus go bhfuil sí cuíosach maith ag na daoine óga nuair a fhágann siad na scoileanna.

Do bhí duine uasal i gCorcaigh le déanaí le linn an Tóstail, duine ó Choimisiún Idirnáisiúnta Cultúrtha na hEorpa a tháinig ó Mheiriceá i dtosach, is dóigh liom. Dúirt sé gur chuala sé na páistí ag teacht amach as an scoil náisiúnta le hais halla na cathrach agus go raibh an teanga á labhairt acu go flúirseach agus go raibh áthas air agus ar na daoine a bhí ina theannta dá bhrí sin. Chonaic sé comórtais rinnce ar thaobh na sráideanna i measc na bpáistí sa chathair agus chuir sé sin ionadh agus aoibhneas orthu go léir.

Sílim go bhfuil an clár atá againn ins na scoileanna fé láthair oiriúnach don tír seo ach is dócha gur ceart féachaint isteach ann do réir mar atá an tAire a dhéanamh fé láthair. Tá sé chun Coimisiún a bhunú chun féachaint isteach i múineadh na Gaeilge agus cé nach maith liom Coimisiúin ná Coimisinéirí de ghnáth, is dóigh liom gur céim ar aghaidh é sin a dhéanamh sa chás seo. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil aon ní bun ós cionn le múineadh na teangan ins na scoileanna ach tá an méid sin cainte ar fud na tíre ina thaobh gur ceart rud éigin mar seo a dhéanamh chun a thaispeáint dos na daoine go bhfuil gach rud scrúduithe go maith. Tá súil agam go gcuirfear gach feabhas is féidir i bhfeidhm ón scrúdú san do leas na teangan agus do leas an oideachais ins na scoileanna.

It is a great thing that we have an opportunity during the debate on this Estimate every year of hearing the views of Deputies on all sides of the House on the various aspects of education. The system that has been in operation here has worked well. It has stressed the religious and moral upbringing of the rising generation and tried at the same time to develop their intellects in such a way as to give them confidence to face the struggle in life that is before them in a competitive world.

One of the principal objects of the educational system in any country is, I would say, to preserve the national characteristics of the race and to bring up the rising generation in an environment which will preserve their traditions and characteristics, and at the same time instil in them a willingness to improve as the years go by not only their own circumstances in life, but also the standards of their walk of life and consequently of the country generally. That, to my mind, is the primary aspect here and it has been well attended to by teachers, by managers and by the Department, and has produced good results. That is not to say that we ought to sit down and say that everything is perfect, that things which were suitable ten or 20 years ago are just as suitable to-day in a changing world. We must examine from time to time the matters connected with education which will keep the rising generation abreast of the times and give them the opportunities in life befitting their station.

It has been said that too much time has been devoted to the teaching of our native language and that there is too much compulsion. Those who talk in that way have not examined the matter at all. I do not think there is any country in the world where they have a language of their own and where that language is not taught and encouraged in the schools. It is our primary duty to encourage our native language. Those in past generations who looked to the days of freedom had that in their minds. The men of 1916 also had it in their minds before they made the supreme sacrifice, like Pádraig Pearse, who went to Rosmuc, mixed with the people of the Gaeltacht, and transmitted that Gaelic atmosphere in his writings as an encouragement to students, to the rising generation and all his colleagues. Every Government which has been in office since has adopted that policy of the preservation of our national language.

It has been said that we are not making much progress in this respect. I cannot agree with that viewpoint. If people were to attend the school festival in Cork where they have drama, music plays and so on, and hear night after night the thousands of school children there conversing with their teachers and amongst themselves in their own language they would realise the progress that has been made. They would also realise that 15 or 20 years ago such a state of affairs was quite impossible. If a talk in Irish is being given, the children of to-day understand it. Perhaps they do not speak the language fluently, but they understand what is going on. If these lectures were given 20 or 25 years ago, very few of the audience would be able to understand them.

There was in Cork during the recent Tóstal festival a representative from Europe of the International Cultural Relations Committee and he said that he and those with him heard children who were coming out of a school near the City Hall speaking quite fluently in the Irish language, and that they saw them on the streets having their own little competitions in Irish dancing. They said that when the natives of Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy, and so on, come to a city, speaking their own language, showing their own folk dances, it arouses in the local population a spirit of emulation and some pride in the national characteristics which are theirs and which they have inherited through years of struggle.

I would appeal to the Minister in setting up the commission to appoint those who have knowledge in that sphere. I have experience myself in my own days of secondary teachers teaching honours students all their lives setting out programmes for national schools that were quite unsuitable in every way and setting them out in kind of watertight departments of grammar, (a), (b) and (c), and all the rest, setting them out more to confuse than to enlighten.

I hope the people the Minister will appoint to grapple with this problem will be the ordinary people of the country and those connected with that sphere of education all their lives. Anybody who stood out against that scheme of things was the worst in the world. If he found he was not getting results and had the courage to say so, he was at once condemned. That was not Pádraig Pearse's idea of a teacher or of his functions, or of the status he should have. I was glad to hear various Deputies say that the relations between inspectors and teachers in recent years had very much improved, that there was a more helpful and cooperative attitude. That is all to the good.

In most cases, the text-books are quite unsuitable. In former times, we had "Ceachta Beaga Gaeilge" by Norma Borthwick, illustrated by Yeats —short, concise lessons dealing with a theme, where you had a little done well. At the present time, there are long rigmaroles of lessons in books that children can never finish within the year. That is not a helpful thing. One of the worst ideas that can ever be put into a child's mind is to leave something unfinished. Let them have something they can do thoroughly and can finish. "Fill orm," ars an droch-obair, "agus dein arís mé.""Return to me," says the badly-done work, "and do me again." They should be able to do something precisely and accurately, so that they may be trained properly. To do that, they should have proper text-books.

When the British wanted to make our children "happy English children", their scheme of books was well designed for that purpose. It is not the amount that we cover that matters, but the method of our doing it. The measure of our success lies in doing it well. In that way, we build up the character of the Irish child in the Irish schools to the advantage of this country.

We have not properly graded text-books in Irish; we have too much in the English books; and we have arithmetics which are no great credit to us. After all these years, we should have something more suitable, particularly from the fourth standard upwards. Up to that, they are fair enough. We ought to make some effort to improve the text-books and make them more suitable and fit them in so that they can be completed within the year. Some of the text-books, whether in Irish or in English, in arithmetic or history or geography, must be left there because there is not sufficient time to deal with them. It is bad practice that the child in third, fourth, fifth or any other standard should not be able to complete the book within the year but must leave six or seven lessons undone. That was not formerly the situation—you just completed the book in the particular year and it was so designed that it could be done and done efficiently.

Then we have people saying that written Irish should be ignored until the child reaches the third or fourth standard. To my mind, that would be bad educational policy. Furthermore, it is impracticable. It is all right where you have one teacher for each class; he can set out his programme and do what he wishes in accordance with the general syllabus. Take the school where you have two teachers in charge of seven or possibly eight standards. There is a junior teacher teaching infants, first and second; the senior teacher teaches third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and sometimes eighth. While the junior is teaching the infants, what are the first and second to do, if not writing? While you are teaching Irish to one class, does anyone think it would be good for the atmosphere of the school to have English or something else going on in the other standard? Is it not the proper practice to have oral Irish going on with the class on the floor and to have those in the desks writing Irish, familiarising themselves with the lessons they were taught previously, with the words, and so on?

I would say that the writing of compositions and aistí should certainly be deferred, but the ordinary writing and familiarising with the simple words in the junior classes, and the progressive words in the senior classes, should go on regularly. When Irish is being taught in a classroom everything there at that time should be Irish, if a proper atmosphere is to be preserved and if proper progress is to be made. These are some of the things in the primary schools which need attention. Unless some cognisance is taken of what Deputies say here, all the talk will be in vain. Let us hope that some good will come of it.

It is said also that our children are not up to the standard of the children of other countries. That is quite false. Every check has been made on it. The Christian Brothers, the Presentation Brothers and teachers of various kinds teaching here have also for a time been teaching in England or in America. If you ask them, as I have done, about the standards there, they will tell you that our standard of education in the various classes is as good, if not better, and that it is more solid. Perhaps those other children may be more glib to answer and perhaps a bit smarter generally, but our children are just as sound and fundamentally they are as well taught as those in any other land.

We have had experience of that here. As members know, an oil refinery is being established in the South of Ireland. It is in course of erection and the head men have come from Holland, Belgium, America and so on. They have interviewed Irish students for appointments, from the vocational and technical schools and have been quite amazed at their standards. Therefore, let us not think we are down in the world in that regard at all.

I have seen cases where students had to emigrate, where they had learned chemistry and things like that; and within a week or a fortnight, they had three or four more drawn away to the same firms as they were found so good and so satisfactory that they were being sought after by firms and agencies abroad. Our schools are good —there is no doubt about that—and they are doing good work. Our only idea is to improve them as far as we can and keep up with modern trends.

Sixty-one per cent. of the population finish their formal education in the national schools, and only 39 per cent. go further. What do these do to improve themselves? We have heard long speeches about what should be done, all the scholarships that should be given, as if everybody could possibly get a secondary or a university education, as if their parents could afford to let them go on to 20 or 21 years of age without earning anything to support the family, even without considering whether it would fit them for the sphere of life into which they were going ultimately.

I believe that in national schools in the rural parts the 60 per cent. or so of our population who go no further, go out into the hedge schools of the headlands of the farms of our country. They learn about the rotation of crops, about fertilisers, about the type of drill they should make for potatoes and the type of drill for beet, about the care of animals and all the rest of it. They go into Macra na Feirme or other clubs of that kind and they learn more, if they are wise. Their education does not finish with school. They learn how to care animals and market them. Surely that is enlightenment of mind for our population in their sphere of life in agriculture.

We should try to help them. I think we should keep them at school until the age of 15 and that during the last year in school, as some members, including Deputy Manley, said, we should have an extra room provided for them. Instead of the big, pretentious vocational schools which we cannot have in every parish, we could provide an extra room in each national school and an agricultural instructor should attend for the benefit of those boys who have reached 14 or 15 years of age and give them certain instruction and prepare them for their way of life.

When I was at school—a good many years ago—we had an agricultural manual and later we had school gardening. All these things—for which there were special fees—have gone. Our rural schemes are the important things because when the pupils come to 14 or 15 they must face the world with national school education. It is good, sound education up to that point, but we should try to help the children at that stage to work themselves into the atmosphere in which they are to live and give them a little extra instruction to prepare them for life.

The secondary schools carry on higher education. Travel in the world is now very easy, leading to greater international intercourse, and consequently a knowledge of perhaps one or two continental languages is more advantageous than when these languages were taught purely as academic training in the past. The secondary schools teach these subjects and we have a certain proportion of our population able to enter into business and commerce with the world outside or able to assist the country's international trade. When letters come here from abroad, they can be properly answered.

At the present time, it is difficult to keep vocational teachers, especially those dealing with technology of various kinds, because they are being absorbed in industry and getting far higher pay in industry than as teachers. That problem becomes more difficult daily and a better scheme of education must be developed, if we are to keep in line with modern progress. We must consider these things and, having considered them, we must do something effective about them, if not this year, then next year, but it must not be left on the long finger as something to be talked about and hoped for, but not achieved.

The number who can get secondary or university education is limited. We have three universities, or four, if we take in the whole nation, and I presume they will be able to train 6,000 or 7,000 of the 500,000 who are in the schools each year. We must look to the big bulk of our people and try to improve their standards and give them opportunities for intellectual and physical development and moral training which will make them good citizens. If they must go abroad, at least they will be able to hold their place with others. These should be our aims in education and it is about time we had another look at our policy to see what improvements we can make. We must give the young people the idea that their interests are being considered and scope given for the exercise of their energies. If we do that, we will be training a generation which will appreciate its purpose in life and the needs of the nation and the necessity to build up our productivity.

In going further, I would only reiterate what has been said already in the House, but I should like to add to what Deputy Palmer and some others said about the teachers who retired before 1950. The youngest of them is now 73 and they are passing away as the days go by. If we do nothing this year or next year, the problem will be solved by their deaths. They will be all gone. Meanwhile the few are left who, in my early years and in the early years of the older members of the House, taught the Irish language late and early and went back into the schools to do it; revived the Irish spirit and taught with colleagues who because of a day or a month got retiring gratuities which these others did not get, although they taught over the same days and years. Just because of an accident of birth, if you like, they retired in 1949 rather than in 1950.

The late Seán Moylan remedied to one-third that deficiency. These teachers paid pension premiums for years and these premiums were taken over by the Government when they had reached a very considerable sum. When it came to a certain time, the line was drawn. A similar situation has been remedied in other places— why can we not remedy it here? Why should this be the one part of the country that has not done so? Surely something is due to these teachers who have given years of service to help this nation spiritually and culturally to reach the present-day standard of which we can be proud. We should not forget them now in their declining years for the sake of the small sum that would right the wrong done to them. I appeal to the Minister to consider the matter and to supplement what the late Seán Moylan did—and what his successor did, I think, in a different way—by giving some monthly allowance or something of that kind to close up the gap that is still there.

There has been discussion about discipline in the school. One of the things for which the teacher must have responsibility is discipline. He has several classes to control and in order to get the work done he must maintain discipline. Some people say that bad answering and so on should not be punished. Perhaps not—but laziness should be punished. It is like the Irish proverb which I mentioned a while ago—Fil orm ars' an droch-obair agus déan arís mé. We do not want to bring up a race of molly-coddles who will be the masters before they reach the age of maturity instead of the people who should be. Discipline is necessary in a nation. The fact that the rising generation must be disciplined is good for them in after life. They see the difference and, when the time comes, they appreciate it.

I should like to open what remarks I have to make on this Estimate by joining the two previous speakers in a plea on behalf of teachers who retired pre-1950. No later than to-day, I received a letter from one of them, a former principal of a girls' school, who retired in 1944 at the age of 60. Although she had a first-class record as a teacher, she found herself done out of five years' teaching money, added to which she has got in the pre-1950 group. I have met them on several occasions when they came to this House. I was always deeply impressed by the dignity with which they presented their case. It is obviously a case of injustice.

I am probably pushing an open door as far as this Minister for Education or any previous Minister for Education is concerned in regard to this matter. It is largely a governmental matter to provide the money. Before I leave the subject, I cannot help pointing out that this House at the moment is in the throes of voting many millions to pay the debts of C.I.E. and surely it would be only justice to give these other people what is due. It is a gross injustice against them. Although it would have no political value or worth to give it to them, we would be redressing a wrong. I believe it would bring the country luck to do so. I think all of us who are putting this case to the Minister are strengthening his own case to the Government to see that the small sum is paid over and that this injustice is rectified.

It has been put to me that when secondary schools are employing a science teacher, the Department of Education insist that it is necessary for such teacher to have the Higher Diploma in Education as well. I am merely passing on that information as it was given to me. It is very difficult for secondary schools to get science teachers. I suppose it is very necessary that those who are to teach science should have a degree in that subject. There is such a demand nowadays in other spheres of life for people with a science degree that it is up to the Department of Education—if what I say is correct—to alter the present state of affairs so that science teachers without the Higher Diploma in Education may be employed in secondary schools.

I have no particular knowledge of education. I cannot speak as a specialist, like the last two speakers who are teachers. Nevertheless, many points have been given to me by teachers to raise on the Estimate as well as by parents, and then I also have my own observations to make. On this Estimate, we are mainly concerned with primary teachers. I suppose every person in this House at some time or another started his or her education in a primary school. The bulk of our people go through primary school and gain their impressions therefrom.

I approve of the decision taken by the Minister in restoring the status of married women teachers. In my constituency several schools have been entirely dependent on married women teachers and other teachers have been dependent on these married women teachers to give them a lift to their several schools.

It has been obvious for a long time that the shortage of teachers is having a very serious effect on the educational system as a whole. We must always remember that children in their formative years are very apt to gather impressions that will last throughout the remainder of their lives. The system in many parts of rural Ireland is that you have teachers who are visitors, who are really birds of passage. Literally, what is happening in my constituency is that when the qualified teachers come out of the training colleges they are appointed to a school maybe in May or June and stay there and in many cases a married teacher who has been doing temporary work there is relieved of her duties and the qualified teacher is appointed in her place. Then, as soon as the summer is over, it is found that the newly-appointed teacher has secured another job somewhere else; always, the tendency is to move towards Dublin. The married teacher who was there before, anchored to the district and who would have stayed, has been taken off and then has to be restored again. I am citing that instance to show the very forceful argument there is for the action the Minister has taken in lifting the ban on married women teachers.

I have already said that children gain their impressions in their formative years. Every Deputy must feel it is very bad for children to be brought up in an atmosphere of a continual changing of teachers, a lack of continuity. For that reason, the restoration of married women teachers is good inasmuch as it is likely to anchor them to a district. It is likely that a husband and wife will teach in a district and stay there and that we shall have that continuity which existed in the past.

Everyone will accept that the teacher—or "master", as he is known in rural Ireland—plays a very important part in the life of the country in forming the ideas of people. When pupils leave school they very often have recourse to him again for advice. Our aim and object, as far as we can, should be to provide that continuity which is so essential.

Special facilities should be made available for the purpose of building houses for teachers. Loans should be available in some shape or form, or there should be easy terms to encourage teachers to build houses and stay in their districts. By doing that, we shall be doing a service for the country as a whole. I also think it would do a lot to dispel the idea, which seems to be growing in the minds of the youth to-day, that there is nothing for them but to emigrate. A restless outlook is created by continual changing of teachers and it must impinge itself on the youth of to-day to a large extent. I think it is largely responsible for the desire of the people to get out of the country or, at least, to get out of rural Ireland into Dublin, and that is a stepping stone to emigration.

I have always felt, and this has been conveyed to me by a lot of teachers as well, that there is too much central control over our primary schools. I am informed that the syllabus is fixed in Dublin in the Department of Education, whereby teachers are supposed to teach certain subjects at certain times. If an inspector walks into a school without notice, as he does, and finds the teacher teaching some particular subject for a short period over the time allotted to it, he gives the teacher a bad mark. Does not that to a large extent turn teachers into robots? The teacher is not allowed to think for himself. He is not allowed to develop the individuality of his pupils or to use his own individuality for the good of those whom he is educating. I do not mean to say that there should not be some sort of fixed routine in schools—it is understandable that there should be— but if the principal of a school himself were freer to decide on the best way to lay out a general curriculum for those whom he is teaching, it would be all to the good.

If what I am told is correct, when inspectors come to inspect schools, they do so without any prior notice whatsoever. If that is so, I do not see that there is really any sense in it. The idea may be that if an inspector comes suddenly into a school, he will catch out a teacher, if he is not carrying out the curriculum in the correct way, and is not running the school as is thought fit. Against that, this surely lowers the teacher in the eyes of the pupils if he is in the position that he is to be pounced on at any moment by an inspector. Surely it is possible for an inspector to give due notice? Perhaps things would be brushed up in a school, if such notice were given, but I think it would give the teacher a better standing amongst his pupils. I think it was Deputy Palmer who said that an inspector from his own observation, experience, and examination of the pupils will know if all is well, if it is a well-run school or not.

Teachers should be allowed greater latitude to run their own affairs and we ought to develop as much individuality as possible. If people who are responsible for developing the minds of pupils are restrained to a certain extent, that must inhibit them in the attitude they adopt to their pupils, and it must lead to a lack of individuality, and individuality is perhaps the best thing that we can bring out in human beings.

I have never been able to understand why there are no teachers as officials in the Department of Education. In the Custom House we have doctors, engineers and architects who are rated as civil servants and who are special advisers to the Department. The same situation exists in other Departments and surely a teacher, or several grades of teachers from primary and secondary schools, acting as officials in the Department of Education, would be of tremendous advantage to the Department. They could give the inside facts relating to the profession with which the Department is dealing all the time.

I do not want to say anything against the Department, but I have found them at times just a little unrealistic. I could cite several instances, but where you have people working in the Department, living in Dublin, absorbing the Dublin way of life, and this allied with the ordinary caution of civil servants who do not really like to do anything lest they might be doing something wrong, it would be a great advantage if, within their own ranks, there was somebody who had actually taught and had experience of school work. The experience of such a person would be of great benefit. There are professional advisers in other Departments and I do not see why such advisers should not be made available as an experiment in the Department of Education.

Mention has been made here about the ability of the children in Ireland, both at school and in their subsequent careers, as compared with the ability of children in other countries. I have had the opportunity of practising as a doctor in both England and Ireland, and, let me say categorically, straight away, that, in my opinion, the standard of intelligence in Ireland amongst the ordinary children—and may I say amongst the ordinary people?—is very much higher than in England. Some Deputies have argued here that our system of education is better than elsewhere. I am not really qualified to speak on that subject because I am not a qualified educationist myself, but certainly so far as the power to absorb, to understand things, goes, I think the Irish people stand head and shoulders above their counterparts in England, and I might say above their counterparts in a great many parts of the world. I do not think we should have any inferiority complex about that. We can stand our own with anybody.

Mention has been made of corporal punishment, principally by Deputy Dr. Browne. Apparently there are certain people who seem to think that boys can be handled by sweet reasonableness and nothing else. I should hate to see us becoming a nation of neurotics and mollycoddles, as a Deputy on the opposite side suggested. When we were small, we had to undergo corporal punishment. Everybody has to undergo correction and I believe that a relaxation of correction has been to a large extent responsible for the growth of "Teddy boys" who are anti-everything and who have no respect for law and order. Surely a lot of that is the effect of this crazy Socialist attitude that the cane should not be taken to children?

All of us in this House, I am sure, had the advantage of being corrected in our youth, and I do not see why we should adopt the attitude that corporal punishment is wrong. One would imagine from hearing some people speaking here that the teachers of Ireland are a group of sadists. I never heard such nonsense and I might add en passant that, if children were corrected more in their homes, it would not be necessary for teachers to correct them in the schools.

I would not be one to encourage excessive punishment, but, if a teacher is to have his hands and feet tied in administering reprimands to children under his care, how can he keep law and order in his school? Anybody who speaks like that is only talking nonsense and the ultimate end of it would be no discipline whatsoever. To my mind, it is a negation of democracy and nothing else.

I should like to say a few words on the subject of the Irish language. Of course, a great deal of this debate has revolved around that subject, and I must freely confess to the House, before I speak on it, that I do not speak Irish myself, but I cannot help imbibing the views of a great many people and cannot help learning a good deal about it from what I hear. When our own Government was established here, it was decided, on account of the neglect of the language when we were under alien Government, to try to reestablish Irish. Whether that has been successful or not is another matter. It seems to me that the main idea was to bring teachers from the Gaeltacht, the only place where Irish was a living language or spoken to any great extent. into Leinster and other parts of Ireland to teach there through the medium of Irish. That happened a great many years ago. We have to evaluate the situation to-day to see whether that has been a success or not.

Deputy Dillon said something which struck me as being fundamentally very sound. He said that in some cases small children were being taken out of English-speaking homes and put into the arena of Irish where they are taught Irish and are taught other subjects through the medium of Irish.

Probably one of the reasons for bringing teachers from the Gaeltacht was to establish the Irish language in the rest of the country and to create an urge in the people generally to speak Irish and to think in Irish. Is it not possible that we are dealing with a parents' resistance in this matter more than anything else? It is 25 or 30 years since the system was established. Many of the present day parents were children then and were taught through the medium of Irish. Had the parents accepted that as something they desired, they would have continued to speak Irish and would have encouraged their children to do so. That does not appear to be the case. One does not hear much Irish spoken. Occasionally I hear national teachers or such people speaking it.

Any Deputy who says that the present scheme to revive Irish is not a success runs the risk of being accused of being a shoneen or West Briton. Nobody wants to see the Irish language fade out. In my youth, there was great enthusiasm for the Gaelic language. I learned the language for a bit, but have forgotten it now. It seems to me that the present system has the stigma of compulsion about it and, as long as that continues, there will always be serious resistance to it. If compulsion were removed—and perhaps that is what the advisory committee will recommend—and if certain benefits were given again I find myself in accord with Deputy Dillon—such as scholarships to universities, possibilities of wider education, and so forth, in conjunction with encouragement of Irish customs, Irish dances and other traditional customs, there might be a Gaelic revival.

I do not think that any Deputy can honestly suggest that at the present moment there is any real enthusiasm for the Irish language. I do not mean for the Irish language itself—let me not be misunderstood—I refer to the way in which it is being taught or the way in which it is endeavoured to put it across. I know it is a difficult subject and a subject on which one's remarks can be grossly misconstrued, but there is a commission to be set up and there may be some changes brought about as a result.

I realise the importance of this Estimate because on our system of education depends what the future generation will be and we will be judged to a great extent by our standard of education. Education begins in the home when the child is an infant on his mother's knee. A great deal depends on whether the mother speaks the Irish language or the English language. Unfortunately for the child, the vast majority of mothers speak the English language. When the child goes to school at the age of five or six years and is put into a class and hears a language he has never heard before, the impact on his mind is so great that his first years at school are largely wasted trying to grapple with the language. It is a mistake to force the Irish language on a child of such tender years.

I am all in favour of developing the language, but the question is how best it should be done. For whatever few words of Irish I have, I can thank the Gaelic League. I attended their night classes because of my anxiety to learn the language. That applied to many men in my time. With the ambition that existed at that time to learn the language, there was even more Irish spoken amongst the people then than there is to-day, notwithstanding the great amount of money which has been spent on the language and the great amount of education in other subjects which students are denied.

Of 5,000 national schools, a mere 3 per cent. teach agricultural science and that in an agricultural country where the big majority of boys and girls will get only primary education. Deputy MacCarthy stated that 61 per cent. of the people get primary education. I have no hesitation in saying that a boy or girl of 14 years of age, having gone through the very grand programme of education in a national school, having endeavoured to learn the Irish language, the English language, history, geography, geometry, algebra, mathematics generally, has far less education than his father had in the past. I know it as a parent. I know, because of my experience of children in rural Ireland, that they are greatly hampered in the schools to-day because of the grand programme and the learning of the language. Some sacrifice must be made to revive the language but how that is to come about without hindering education is a matter that should be very seriously considered by the Minister.

There is a great need for continuation education on completion of the primary school course. The father who rears a family looks forward to the day when his eldest son or daughter can give him a little help in his home. He looks forward to the day when the boy will reach the age of 14 so that he can help him in the running of his farm or his business. He may be anxious to give him a secondary education, or vocational education but, because of circumstances outside his control, he is not able to do so and the boy, through force of circumstances, is compelled to do with the limited amount of primary education which he gets up to the age of 14 years in the national school.

It is recommended that a boy attending the vocational schools should be 16 years of age. There is, then, that period from 14 to 16 and they are the vital years in the development of a young boy. If a young boy or girl is allowed to lapse between the ages of 14 and 16 without any continuation in his or her education, it is very difficult to bring them back to education again because they will have forgotten all they learned in the primary schools.

In the old days, those who left the primary schools had the opportunity of attending night classes in the national schools. Those classes do not exist at all to-day and, indeed, it was a very useful form of education. Our emigrants who went to America were fairly well educated in the primary schools; they continued their education in the night classes; and when they went to America they continued their education there. That made them well educated Irish emigrants. They are not so well prepared to-day, unless they get the opportunity of secondary education, or a good grinding in vocational education, but they are lacking that knowledge in English, arithmetic and Irish which they should get in their own country, if our educational system was a proper one for imparting that knowledge to our boys and girls.

In the old days, too, agriculture was taught in the schools and my own parents learned agriculture in the national school. I do not know why agriculture is not taught. I presume it gave way to other subjects such as Irish, but agriculture being the main industry, I think that in rural Ireland, at least, the bias in education should be all in favour of a little agricultural teaching, if we are to encourage our people to stay in rural Ireland. Unfortunately, the trend is away from the land and to a great extent I blame the educational programme which has been in existence over the past 30 years, because that education was altogether for education, for training the children for the professions and for the Civil Service, all of which are now overcrowded, while rural Ireland is becoming depopulated.

The system of education in the rural areas should be based on the way of living of the people of rural Ireland, that is, on the hard way of life which they have to live. I know that good work is being done in the vocational schools, and we appreciate all that has been done, but there is just that lack between the age of 14 and the age of 16 years. The boys and girls cannot continue the education they get in the primary schools, in the all important subjects of Irish, English and arithmetic.

Surely the Deputy is ignoring the facts completely? Does he not know that there is an admission examination to the vocational schools?

For day classes.

Not for night classes, and that is the weakness in the whole system, because, as I pointed out before, the father and mother are looking forward to the day when the eldest boy or girl can stay at home from the age of 14 and help in the running of the business. An opportunity should be afforded them to attend night classes the moment they leave the national school. That opportunity should be given to the boys either in the national schools—as was the case 40 years ago —or else in the vocational schools.

I believe that the system of teaching Irish at present is not the best, as it is so confusing to the children. I know some children who are reared in Irish-speaking homes and they are able to cope with the language all rights, but where children are not reared in Irish-speaking homes, the system is most confusing when they are asked to do sums or history or geography, and all the other subjects, through the medium of Irish. Even in the national schools, it would be far better for the development of the language, if it were taught as a subject. When people go abroad, they learn a language, such as French, in a very short time by listening to other people speaking it and by learning a few words now and again. They develop their knowledge gradually, and if we could only develop the learning of the Irish language gradually, instead of compelling children of tender years to learn it, whether they like it or not, there would be more love for it.

I believe every Irish boy and girl would like the Irish language, but the idea of compelling them, and hammering it into them, is rather repulgive and it is not a great inducement to them to learn it. As Deputy MacCarthy said a few moments ago, the chief thing for our educational system is to limit the subject on the programme so that what the children are taught will be taught well.

I should like to add my voice to the voices of those who spoke on behalf of the pre-1950 national teachers. They are now a dwindling band and, as other Deputies said, they served the country very well. They did excellent work and I would ask the Minister to do his best for them. Their claims have been advocated by organisations all over the country, by county councils, by committees, and most Deputies have advocated their claims, too. If their claims were not just, I do not think they would get so much support. I feel sure if the Minister for Industry and Commerce wanted the money for some purpose, he would get it. I hope that the Minister for Education will prove just as good a bargainer.

In relation to education, we are very fortunate in this country in one respect, that is, in the control and management of the various branches of education. We have three different branches of education—I am not speaking about university education— primary, vocational and secondary. In the primary branch, we have clerical managers. They manage the schools and do the job very well. Vocational education is taken care of by vocational committees almost outside the control of the State and secondary education is under the control of the laity and the religious bodies who run educational institutions. If a system of education is State controlled, that situation is fraught with grave danger. If education is used as an instrument of the State to mould political opinion, it can lead to very disastrous results, as it has done in other countries. Therefore, our system of control of the schools in the various branches of education should be preserved and guarded.

One of the greatest flaws in our present system of primary education is the school leaving age. The school leaving age is 14. That was determined by an inter-departmental committee. It is departmental policy but that policy is not now in conformity with current educational opinion. We have the most eminent educational authorities stating that at 16 years a child has reached its highest intelligence. I would suggest that the school leaving age should be raised at least to 15. That would be only following the lead of other countries which have, I suggest, a better educational system than ourselves.

Teachers all over the country will tell you that a great defect in our system is the large classes in most of our schools. Forty pupils in a class is a very common thing and the number ranges from 40 to 50, or even 100. I know one case in my own town of Castlebar in which there are 100 pupils under the one teacher. In that class it is absolutely impossible ever to keep order. How can one teacher be expected to manage pupils of tender years—100 of them at the one time— and at the same time, teach a particular subject? It is an absolute necessity to have something done about the large classes which are common in most of our schools. It is not so bad in rural areas because the population there is dwindling due to emigration.

I want to deal with the problem of the retarded child. By that, I mean a dull child. That problem is made more difficult by the existence of those large classes. We have completely and callously disregarded the situation of the dull child. I do not think anything at all has been done to help such children and, naturally, help the parents, because no parent is content if his child is not as good as the others. Any child, even a dull child, has the right to be treated in the same way as any other pupil.

Lately, the Council of Education recommended that the programme in the schools should be extended. There are already seven subjects on the primary schools programme: Christian Doctrine, Irish, English, Arithmetic, History, Geography and Singing. In some schools, in addition, we have Algebra and Geometry. The Council of Education have recommended that three more subjects should be added. Their purpose in doing that is to relieve dulness and give variety to the programme. I think that is impossible. The programme is already overloaded, and God knows any teacher has enough variety and he certainly has no dullness where he must manage 40 or 50 pupils, divided into three groups, and teach them two different subjects at the same time. I can assure the House and the Council of Education that there is no lack of variety in any school, rural or urban. Time is not an elastic bag. You cannot pack in 12 subjects into the time allotted in any primary school.

It is very deplorable that our children must sit all day in dilapidated buildings. Sometimes, those buildings are a menace to their very health. They are insanitary and totally inadequate. Deputy Dr. Browne stated here that there is an accumulation of arrears of £4,000,000 granted by the Department of Education to the Board of Words for school buildings. I cannot understand that at all. If it is true, it shows a terrific lack of capacity for work in the Board of Works. This is a time when we have a building depression and 20,000 building workers are out of work. If that money is available, and if arrears are accumulating, why not start a building campaign and in a few years' time most of those inadequate buildings will be demolished and replaced by new schools? We all welcome the fact that this year £1.4 millions have been granted for the building of new schools. We may ask questions during the year to see will this £1.4 millions be spent. I do not see the use of granting money when that money will accumulate in arrears and will not be spent.

Much comment has been made here during the last few days about the revival of the Irish language. There are a few factors which militate against it. The people to-day are so engrossed in earning their living and making ends meet that they have neither time for nor interest in something which will not return some material benefit to them. They have lost interest in the language.

Secondly, those people who know the language are so apathetic about speaking it that it has fallen into disuse. I know there is a mental effort involved in the speaking of Irish, but there are many people all over the country to-day who know more Irish than did people 100 years ago. Yet they will not speak it.

Parents have what might be described as a negative opposition to their children learning, or being forced to learn, Irish in the infant grades in the primary schools. Deputy Dillon has commented on that already. School-going children are bewildered enough in their first years at school, deprived of the company of their parents and taken out of the environment of their homes, without their being asked to communicate with one another in a language that is absolutely foreign to them. To them, Irish is not their native tongue. The Department should take steps to abolish compulsory Irish in the infant grades in the primary schools.

In a foreign country a person can make himself intelligible if he has about 200 sentences to get along with. I suggest that a booklet should be issued to the schools here giving about 200 sentences and phrases in Irish and, at the end, there could be a glossary of words which could be put into their proper context when required. In that way, children learning Irish would be able to make themselves intelligible. After all, we only want to revive Irish as a spoken language, not as the language. I suggest that this booklet should be in use as high as the fifth class. On reaching that class, children would have 200 or 300 sentences in which to make themselves intelligible to one another in the Irish language.

I should like the Minister to clarify one point. This week about 22,000 candidates are sitting for the Intermediate Certificate and the Leaving Certificate throughout the country. I have been approached on a few occasion about the system of marking. I want the Minister to tell me, when he comes to reply, if the standard of marking is changed during the period in which the papers are corrected? I have been informed that, if a paper proves too difficult and if too many candidates are failing in that particular paper, directions are issued by the Department to the examiners to go easy on that particular paper. If that is true, then it is grossly unfair to those whose papers have already been corrected.

If there was a change surely they would go back on the papers already marked?

I was led to believe that they do not go back on the papers already corrected. I should like the Minister, for the benefit of those interested, to clarify the position when he is replying.

I do not propose to keep the Minister very long. I am sure he is anxious to wind up this debate. I had not the privilege of being present to hear most of the speakers, but I have read what was said. I was amazed to discover that the majority of the speakers here so far are satisfied with the progress made in the revival of Irish. I was amazed to-day to hear Deputy MacCarthy, for whom I have nothing but the greatest respect, say that he was satisfied with the progress made.

Make no mistake about it, the Irish language as a spoken language is dying, and dying fast. It is not the Department of Education which will revive it. There is only one cradle of the Irish language, and that is the Gaeltacht. Unless we continue to rock the cradle, and if necessary spoonfeed the child, we shall succeed only in killing the child. Deputy MacCarthy told the House that he is satisfied that the country is becoming Irish-speaking and will be an Irish-speaking country in a short time. He quoted in support of his contention the work done in Ring and in some other colleges in West Cork. He said we could go down there and hear the pupils converse in Irish and see plays produced in Irish, all resulting in the production of Irish speakers. If the Deputy goes down to Maynooth he will hear the students there converse in Latin. He will hear lectures delivered in Latin. He will see plays produced in Latin. But Latin is a dead language and will never become the spoken language of these students when they eventually graduate and leave Maynooth. That is what will happen in the case of Irish.

We shall, as a result of the present policy of the Department, turn Irish into a dead language. We shall have a reading and a writing knowledge of it. We shall be able to speak it on occasions, but it will no longer be the spoken language of the people. That unfortunately is the truth. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle and I represent what is probably the largest Gaeltacht area in the country. We see the boundaries of that Gaeltacht shrinking every day. We see the Irish speakers in that Gaeltacht emigrating. What is even worse, we see those who remain turning to the English language and speaking English. That is one of the tragedies of the present system.

I am in full agreement with Deputy Kenny. We should abolish compulsory Irish forthwith and, in lieu thereof, we should establish compulsory oral Irish classes where Irish would be taught through the Módh Díreach and through the phrase method. We should revert to the type of elementary classes of the late Father Total and the late James Craig. Let us forget about spelling. Let us go back to phonetics and hold oral Irish classes in which the language could be taught as it is spoken.

It would pay us, I think, if, instead of voting moneys for the Department of Education for the revival of Irish, we handed that money over to Gael Linn or Comhaltas Uladh. In that way we would do much more to revive Irish than we are doing by the present method. I have the greatest respect for the present Minister. I have not the same degree of respect for the Department and its policy. Gael Linn are doing a wonderful job of work in reviving Irish. Comhaltas Uladh—we have at least one executive member of that body in this House—are doing a wonderful job, too.

Where is the use in people being able to speak the language if they will not speak it? The Irish patriots to whom Deputy MacCarthy referred were just as anxious for the revival of Irish as the spoken language of the country as to see the country gain its freedom; they were thinking in terms of the spoken language and not the language taught in our schools to-day. Now, Gael Linn and Comhaltas Uladh send a number of students each year to the Gaeltacht where they mingle with Irish speakers and speak nothing but Irish. It would be a step forward if the Department sponsored some such scheme and sent a certain percentage of elementary schoolchildren into the Gaeltacht for two or three months every year and then returned them to continuation oral Irish classes in the schools. In that way we would have the householders of the Gaeltacht occupied continuously teaching these children and providing homes for them and the wherewithal to feed them. That is one of the solutions for our problem.

I know the Minister is proposing to set up a commission to inquire into the best method of reviving the Irish language. As sure as he does that, the language is finished. We are sick, sore and tired of commissions, of reading the reports of commissions which are never implemented. The old Cumann na nGaedheal Government did a very good thing when they set up the Gaeltacht Commission which put in a very good report. Unfortunately that report was never implemented. We know of several commissions which were set up and brought in excellent reports. Members of these commissions devoted a considerable amount of time gratuitously to the study of the problem referred to them but we never got any further. If we are going to set up a commission now to inquire into the language, in ten years we may get a report and in 25 years we may endeavour to implement it when the language has gone.

Instead of setting up a commission the Minister should consult with Gael Linn, Comhaltas Uladh and other bodies in the South of which I am not aware, but which I am certain are also doing good work. If the Minister consulted with them they might advise him as to the best method of reviving the spoken language, that is, provided we are satisfied it is the spoken language we want. I hope something will be done and done very quickly. Otherwise the people who are left in the Gaeltacht will lose faith.

Deputy Kenny referred to school buildings. I think it was in or about 1919 that a principal teacher in the Gaeltacht was asked for a report on the sanitary accommodation in his schoolhouse and his reply was: "Ten acres of mountain at the back of the school." Unfortunately that is still true. There are certain schools in this country without sanitary accommodation. Something should be done and done forthwith to remedy that serious lack of amenity which every schoolhouse should have.

It reminds me of a case of which I have personal experience. It was the case of Belcruit, a school in the Rosses of County Donegal in the Breac-Ghaeltacht. As a result of the efforts of the local authority the locality got a water supply, and within 21 feet of the school, piped water passed along the public road. I asked the then Minister for Education if he would ensure that piped water would be laid on to the school. I am not exaggerating when I say five different inspectors called at the schoolhouse for the purpose of investigating the necessity for laying on this water. The matter was under consideration for 18 months. I do not know what the cost of the travelling expenses of these inspectors was but at the end of 18 months I was informed by the Minister that it was not water that was necessary but a new school.

I agreed with him that a new school was necessary. I then asked him where did that school stand on the priority list and I was told that in about eight to ten years' time a new school would be erected in that locality and it would then be considered essential that water should be laid on. I got a local plumber to give me an estimate of what it would cost to lay water on to the school and I received an estimate for £47 10s. I am certain that the travelling expenses of the various inspectors who visited that school were much in excess of £47 10s.

I do not think it is the responsibility of the Minister.

I bow to the ruling of the Chair but the position is that, as a result of the Minister's Estimate, we vote certain moneys for the erection and repair of schools. I am referring to a method by which we could spend that money more beneficially than it is being spent. If that £47 10s. had been expended on the laying on of water and the improvement of the amenities of that school there might be no necessity for a new school, because I can assure the Minister that if the Gaeltacht and the Breac-Ghaeltacht continue to dwindle, as they are dwindling, there will be no necessity to build schools in the locality at all. This was once a five-teacher school; it is now a two-teacher school. It would be a waste of money to build a new school but it would not be a waste of money to lay on piped water to it.

Some Deputy referred to the teaching of history in our schools. Some of our history books are far too biassed. They are too recent and are inclined to give us a particular slant to recent events in Ireland. I do not wish to go into the matter in detail but I suggest we should leave those events to future historians and should be very careful now what we inject into the minds of children. I am not too satisfied that it may not be the history books now being used in the schools which have caused this unrest in the present generation and which have injected into the minds of the younger generation an admiration, which is possibly misplaced, of the heroes of which they read in their school books. I do not wish to say any more than that about it in case I would be misconstrued.

It would be a very good thing if outside every schoolhouse we had a flagstaff with the national emblem displayed there on festive occasions. There is nothing more galling than to see at Gaelic football, soccer matches and on other occasions the national flag displayed on carts, wheelbarrows and other such vehicles, not even horizontally. There should be a flagstaff outside each schoolhouse and the pupils should be taught the proper manner in which to fly the flag, when it should be flown and the material of which it should be composed. That would do some good and the flag would be respected. I have seen the national flag with the component parts thereof not horizontal but parallel; I have seen the orange nearest the flagstaff, and so on. That is all through lack of education and the Minister could do a considerable amount to remedy that. It would not cost more than 30/- to erect a flagstaff outside the schoolhouse and to have a flag displayed there. It should be possible also to have short instructive lectures given on it.

We should also pay more attention to physical culture in our national schools. In the old days, 20 or 30 years ago, if you motored or travelled on a side-car through the countryside you would see the children doing physical exercises. It is very seldom you see it to-day. You see it in the cities but very seldom in rural Ireland which is a mistake. We want to build up the bodies as well as the minds of those children and it would be a good thing if we had an even balance between physical culture and mental training.

I am not in a position to discuss many of the other matters raised, but these things struck me, as a layman. If we do not keep the cradle of the Gaeltacht rocking—and the child, if necessary, spoon-fed—we shall soon kill the child in it and when he is gone, we shall find ourselves—just as the clerics do with Latin—with a knowledge of a dead language.

This has been one of the most protracted debates on the Department of Education that we have had in this House, certainly in my period of ten years' membership. It ranged over a varied field and many separate topics were introduced. It was my intention, had the debate ended sooner, to take up as many points as I possibly could, but the variety to which I have referred makes it impossible for me to do so in any reasonable length of time. However, I can safely say there were three or four main topics which were common to most of the speeches. If I refer to those in more detail and ignore others, perhaps I shall be doing sufficient in reply to this debate.

A year ago, I listened to the debate on this Estimate, but I was not then in the same position as I am now to appreciate the points made and comment on them. I am a little better equipped now; nevertheless, that is not to say that I consider myself at this stage an expert or anything like an expert on education. I have, of course, the assistance of experts. At this stage I might take up a point made by Deputy Esmonde, who said he found it peculiar that in a Department such as the Department of Education there were not teachers actually employed as officers of the Department. The fact is, of course, that the technical staff, the inspectorial staff, is comprised exclusively of teachers. These are the experts on whom I normally rely and on whom the Department normally relies, for guidance in matters affecting the mechanics of education.

The language—its restoration, the teaching of it and teaching through it —was possibly the principal topic. I donot think I need make my position clear. In common with every one of the Deputies who spoke it is my desire to see the language revived. I do not expect that this will be done to the exclusion of English. Some Deputies mentioned that English is a valuable possession and that it would be a pity to lose it. I agree entirely. Our Constitution recognises English as an official language, as it does Irish. I believe that we could attain, and should aspire to attain, the stage when the people can speak Irish as fluently as they speak English. That is my hope and I believe I express the wishes of the vast majority of Deputies and, in so far as they represent the electorate, it may be safely presumed that that is the desire of the majority of the people as well.

Were it not for the imminent setting up of the commission to examine, not only the teaching of Irish and through Irish in the schools but other ways in which it is hoped to pursue the language in the after-school period, I might be expected to say more on this subject at this juncture. As there is a commission about to act, I shall restrict what I might otherwise be tempted to say. Nevertheless, I might point out that there is a variety of views, even amongst Deputies here, as to the methods which should be adopted.

Some Deputies have suggested that the Irish language should not be taught or even mentioned at all to infants coming into the schools. Others suggested that it should be treated only as a single subject right through the school curriculum. Others have suggested that it should be completely absent from the school curriculum up to the age of eight, nine or ten. Many have failed to understand what the true position is. I know that many of the teacher Deputies have tried, during the course of the debate, to correct the wrong impression amongst other Deputies and amongst the general public.

For that reason it might be as well for me to comment briefly on the instructions given to teachers, as laid down in the 1926 National Programme Conference. Some Deputies said that they assumed that this would be trotted out. If that is the term, I am trotting it out, for the benefit of the House:—

"Where a teacher is competent to teach through Irish, and where the children can assimilate the instruction so given, the teacher should endeavour to extend the use of Irish as a medium of instruction as far as possible. When these conditions do not exist, such teaching through Irish is not obligatory."

That is the simple doctrine. In the infant classes, where it is sought to teach Irish, I think Deputy Jones pointed out how that method is applied. He suggested, quite rightly, that there is no attempt to speak only Irish to the infant children coming in. As he put it, the attempt is to go from the known to the unknown. Most Deputies would agree that there is, in fact, no attempt to teach at all at that stage, rather than to instil impressions and instil some fundamental knowledge of arithmetic and of language. The teaching of arithmetic if it can be called teaching of the subject, is limited to: "a dó is a dó, sin a ceathair; a trí is a dó, sin a cúig." I do not think that could be interpreted as a burden on the child. As Deputy Jones said, there is no attempt to confuse the child in trying to teach him these elementary things.

With regard to the different views held as to the age at which the language should be introduced, the Council of Education examined that problem in some detail and came to certain conclusions. At paragraph 210 of the Council of Education report, on page 142, they say:—

"To introduce Irish at the age of nine years or later would in the first place allow but little time for its teaching, even were the school leaving age to be raised, and would result in scarcely any oral command over the language being acquired by the average child in his school career. The force of this contention will be realised when consideration is given to the extent of our curriculum, our difficulties of organisation, no matter what improvements may be made, our experience in the teaching of continental languages in secondary schools, and the force of extra school influences. Secondly, common experience proves that at the age of ten years or so the child's imitative habits and ability to adapt his speech to new sounds become more limited and that his speech organs become less flexible and plastic. Thirdly, the second language is more easily acquired in infancy by the same methods through which the child acquires his first language— imitation, play and activity. The experience of parents whose children play with child-speakers of another language substantiates this, although much admittedly here depends on environment."

Later on at paragraph 211 the Council of Education reports:—

"With few exceptions, the statements received by the council, where these contained a specific recommendation as to the age at which Irish should be introduced, suggested that its teaching should begin in the infant standards. A large majority of our members accept this standpoint and they recommend accordingly that the teaching of Irish be introduced at the beginning of the primary school."

Still further on, at paragraph 235, having reviewed generally the submissions that were made to them, they say, at the end of that paragraph:—

"They do not, accordingly, suggest that any change be made in the present regulations regarding teaching through Irish."

The former Minister for Education set up that council and the personnel is widely known in the educational field and outside it. The recommendations and submissions the council received came from groups, organisations and individuals well qualified to make these recommendations and submissions and the council was equally well qualified to sift them. This is the majority recommendation and, in the light of it, it is difficult to understand why people attempt to lay down categorically alternative methods. Nevertheless, the council's task was not directed only to the teaching of Irish and the methods by which it might possibly be revived. A new commission is about to be set up for that and for that reason I do not propose to comment further on the recommendations of the councils.

I might say that in common with many other Deputies I am not satisfied with the progress that has been made. Much progress has been made; many more people know and understand Irish now than 20 years ago but I share the view very strongly that there is some reticence among those of us who know the language to speak it among ourselves. Whether that is due to lack of some from of moral courage or not I do not know, but I believe the work done in the schools in teaching Irish is quite good. If there was an adequate follow-up, the work done would fructify and we would be in a position to say and establish that the work of the teacher, particularly in the national school, is soundly based.

In regard to the commission I should like to explain how it came about. Some Deputies on the opposite side have spoken disparagingly of the intention to set it up. I should like to remind them that it was as the result of a motion put down by some of their own colleagues in the Seanad that it was decided to set up this commission. I should say it was largely as a result of that motion because everybody must have realised that some further examination of the situation was necessary at this stage. Originally, the intention was to limit the terms of reference, to narrow these terms as suggested by the movers of the motion in the Seanad in order to concentrate on the schools, concentrate on how better to teach the Irish language in the schools and how better to relate it to the teaching of other subjects and how better to integrate it into the system of education. That was the original intention because it was felt that the terms of the motion wandered over such a wide field that it would probably be difficult to get a positive recommendation from any council or commission.

I should say at this stage that if these were to be the terms of reference, limiting the inquiry to what was being done in the schools, it would have been a matter for me to set up that commission and nominate the members of it but as a result of representations made to the Taoiseach, to me, and to other members of the Government by the movers of the motion in the Seanad and by other groups and organisations, the Government decided to have another look at the terms of reference. As a result, these were extended so that not only would the teaching of the language in the schools come under review but also what other things can be done outside the schools in voluntary organisations, in business spheres and in other walks of life which can assist in the restoration of the language.

For that reason the setting up of the commission has passed from me; it is now a matter for the Government. I believe the personnel is practically settled and the names will soon be announced, and no doubt at a very early stage the work of the commission will commence. I think that fact alone should indicate that the Government is not satisfied with the progress that has been made in the restoration of the language. I stated during the course of the Seanad debate that I was not personally satisfied either but I should like to support those Deputies who have stated that we have come a long way. I can supplement what Deputy MacCarthy has said in regard to school festivals where we see young people in concert halls and other places throughout the country able to converse in the native language and able to put on plays, musical and straight, and other forms of entertainment on their own language. I believe that is being done to a much greater extent at present than in the earlier years.

Deputy Dr. Browne referred to the teaching of Irish as the teaching of a dead language. I agree that to a large extent, and for many years, we have been, in my opinion, possibly paying too much attention to the written language and to grammar and it was for that reason I decided, shortly after assuming office, that examination should be made of how we might pay more attention to the oral aspect of learning the language and of teaching it.

The decision to introduce the oral examination at the Leaving Certificate stage, I am glad to say, has been very well received by the House and the country. There has been some question as to why it should not be introduced at an earlier stage. Deputies will appreciate the practical difficulties involved in examining, say, 14,000 students rather than examining, say, 7,000 students, having regard to the availability of qualified personnel.

Deputy Mulcahy, in particular, asked me if I would elaborate on the methods which were to be adopted in carrying out the test. As he knows, and as I have already announced, it will be first carried out in conjunction with the Leaving Certificate Examination of 1960. The marks obtainable by the candidate in the oral test and in the written paper, combined, will be the same maximum of 600, as applies at the present time. In the early years, it is proposed to allow 500 of the marks to the written examination and 100 to the oral part of the examination. Later on, it is proposed to alter that ratio as to 200 for the oral test and 400 for the written paper.

As I indicated when introducing the Estimate, the test will be carried out by secondary and national school inspectors. There were not sufficient secondary school inspectors even to contemplate attempting the task. The intention is that the candidates will sit for the test, in so far as is possible at all, in their own schools.

An inspector will visit each of the schools some time during the final term before the Leaving Certificate Examination as a whole is taken. A teacher from the school staff, nominated by the manager, will be permitted to sit in with the inspector during the period of the oral examination. It is intended that that will have the effect of putting the candidate at ease and of giving the teacher an opportunity of assessing the standard of the questions. The teacher himself may put question but the alloting of marks will be a matter entirely for the inspector.

The Deputy also raised a question with regard to the time factor. Assuming there are about 7,000 candidates— in fact, in 1957, there were 7,227 candidates—if we allot an average of 15 minutes per pupil that would give a total of 1,087 examining hours. Assuming there was one examiner, and taking five hours a day, he would complete that work in 342 days. We hope to have at least 40 examiners with the result that the number of examining days will be reduced to about eight or nine. There will, however, be no intention of rushing the examination in order to conclude it within that period of eight or nine days. If, as I believe we can do, the examinations will be completed within three weeks, I suggest that that, from the time point of view alone, would ensure a reasonably even standard of marking and also no one school could complain that another school got much more time to prepare for the examination.

I mentioned a time of 15 minutes. That will not rigidly be adhered to. Some candidates will be able to satisfy the inspector, possibly, in seven or eight minutes, and some—perhaps due to reticence or lack of experience of this type of examination—might require a little further time. The inspector might decide, in order, to give such a candidate a proper chance, to keep him, say, 18, 20 or even more minutes. However, that would be a matter for discretion.

There will be no question of trying to catch out my candidate. The test will be one of conversational ability. There will be no question of seeking knowledge in the test. It will not be a test of literature or folklore. It will be a test to examine the ability of the candidate to express himself in Irish about day-to-day matters with which he himself is conversant. The candidate's fluency, accuracy of speech and pronunciation will be the aim of the test. It is intended at the start to include a short reading test by way of introduction and to help to put the candidate at his ease and at the same time to test his pronunciation and interpretation and to give material for conversation which could lead on to more general questions.

I have already got a draft scheme which details the basis on which the examiners will award marks—how these marks are to be allocated, and so on. Apart from the question of the propriety of issuing instructions to examiners beforehand, it may be that the scheme will be modified in some detail later, on further consideration. Specific and full instructions will be given to all the examiners.

It has been stated that the introduction of an oral test may not be quite right in a competitive examination such as the Leaving Certificate now is in relation to many posts and many entrance scholarships to universities. However, when one thinks of Civil Service examinations of different kinds, one will realise that the Civil Service Commissioners can work those oral Irish tests very well from the competitive point of view and there is no reason why it should not be done also in the Leaving Certificate.

In what examinations do the Civil Service Commissioners do it?

When a candidate passes his written examination he is obliged to attend for an oral Irish test and, on passing that oral Irish test, he goes on to the doctor.

There are not 40 people doing that test.

Yes, I agree—possibly very much less, possibly only one, two or three persons.

It is a concentrated examination usually in the hands of the same people and not spread over a large number of areas.

That is right. The inspectors who will be conducting these examinations have experience of oral tests for other purposes as well. Deputy Mulcahy knows that they are experienced in the Easter orals in which they have to examine a large number of pupils. A fairly large team of inspectors have to undertake those tests.

Furthermore, in relation to the written examination papers, a big number of examiners have to be recruited and, by the methods the Department has of co-ordinating the standard, it can generally be assumed that a fair and even standard is adhered to in written tests. I believe the same can be done in the oral tests.

I would suggest to the Minister that it is a very different atmosphere and I would ask him to consider the very small number of marks which divide people on the scholarship side. Two hundred marks for an oral test provide a very great margin for error. The Minister, I am sure, is aware of the kind of supervision and watchfulness that has to take place even in regard to written examinations. Does he anticipate there will be any kind of scheme that can reasonably be worked with regard to the oral examination, or does he consider there will be any kind of an appeal board for doubtful cases?

I do not think I could promise an appeal board. In the first place the oral Irish part of the test will not be a failing part of this examination. If a candidate fails to get any marks in the oral test he does not fail the examination.

I am thinking of it at scholarship level, at competitive level rather than at qualifying level.

There can be no question of an appeal board. The presence of the teacher himself will ensure that a good candidate, a good pupil, will not be "knocked" unfairly. That will be one of the purposes of it. In any case we can only do our best to ensure an even standard of marking and I do not believe it will be impossible of achievement. I do not think I would feel justified in refusing to introduce this test only on the grounds that we feared an equitable standard would not be maintained. I should say, too, that there will be a corresponding reduction in the amount of prescribed texts on the written side in order to enable the necessary concentration to be given to the oral test, and to the preparing of students for the oral test.

The Deputy also asked me for some further information about the marriage ban, but, before I come to that, Deputy Dr. Browne described this as "a miserly contribution" towards the solution of our problem. I remember last year, about this stage in the course of the Estimate debate, Deputy Dr. Browne put me the question as to what my views were on the compulsory retirement of married women teachers and I answered him, without examining the question very carefully —in fact I had not given it any real thought at the time—by saying that I thought it was a great waste of teaching power. I am very glad I gave that answer because, having examined the situation, I was more convinced of the truth of what I said on that occasion.

During the course of the year Deputy Dr. Browne pressed me on a number of occasions—at least twice—as to what I was going to do about it. He obviously made a fairly big issue of it then. He attached some importance to it and now he describes it as "a miserly contribution" to our problem of pupil-teacher ratio. The "miserly contribution" has been made and I should like to clarify the situation in regard to some aspects of it.

Deputy Mulcahy requested information as to how the revocation of the marriage rule would operate and what the significance of the 1st July is. It is the intention that, subject to the rules and regulations for national schools, the revocation of the rule should apply in the case of all teachers who were, as a result of it, required to retire on marriage. The 1st July is the beginning of the school year and, consequently, is an appropriate date for the re-entry of such teachers into recognised teaching service. These teachers on re-entry will be placed on the salary point corresponding to the point they had reached before retirement on marriage, and will be allowed to proceed therefrom by normal increments to the maximum of the scale. In order that those of them to whom a marriage gratuity was paid may have their service previous to marriage reckoned for pension purposes they will within such period as may be decided on by the Department be required to refund the gratuity.

Teachers serving in a recognised capacity before the 1st July to whom the marriage rule applied, who marry on or after that date and retire from teaching, would not under the terms of the existing superannuation schemes be eligible for a marriage gratuity. I feel, however, that such teachers should, taking everything into account, be given a marriage gratuity subject to the normal conditions and I intend to have the superannuation schemes amended so as to enable a marriage gratuity to be paid in these cases. A teacher in this latter category who re-enters the teaching service subsequently will be required, in order that her service prior to marriage may be reckoned for pension purposes, to refund the marriage gratuity over such period and with the addition of compound interest at such rate as may be determined. Women teachers entering recognised national teaching service for the first time on or after the 1st July next will not be eligible for a marriage gratuity.

Since the decision was announced there has been much newspaper comment on it. Rather, I should say there has been much correspondence published in newspapers about the effect it will have on teachers who will come into service for the first time after the examinations held in the training colleges this year—in other words the final year students. It has been suggested that many of them will have to emigrate, that there will be no jobs for them. I want to say here and now that not one of these teachers will be denied a job. In fact, they will have the choice of two or three jobs at the beginning of the school year. It may be that some of the jobs they would like to get in Dublin, Cork and Limerick may not be available to them but, in the parts of the country where it is most necessary to have trained teachers, in parts of the country where there is no further education beyond the primary school level, there will be plenty of jobs available for them.

Deputy Mulcahy asked me on what grounds from a social point of view the decision was made. In the first place I consider it my duty to provide the highest possible form of education for all our children and, in order to do that, I think it is my duty also to ensure that, wherever possible, trained teachers will be available. The system that was growing up of unqualified teachers being appointed to schools, particularly in remote parts, was in my opinion unjustified and intolerable. The fact was that in many cases school managers were finding it increasingly difficult to recruit teachers to remote schools and, even if they did recruit trained teachers, they found it impossible to retain them there. The employment of so many untrained teachers is educationally indefensible. Even the provision of more training facilities would not of itself overcome the problem for a considerable time ahead.

I have mentioned the fact that it was largely to the remote parts of the country trained teachers were most reluctant to go, and that having taken up positions in them, they were most reluctant to stay there. A young woman trained teacher was very unlikely, facing the prospect of compulsory retirement on marriage, to remain in a remote area. The natural tendency was to gravitate towards the bigger centres of population, particularly Dublin. Managers of schools were complaining that there were frequent changes of personnel, that a trained teacher would come to a school and, getting an offer of a job in a more populous area, would leave after a very short period, and this was having a detrimental effect on the education of the children.

Approximately 105 trained teachers retire each year. These teachers, on their retirement, have an average of 11 years' service. I gave it as my opinion before that many of them retired when they were coming to the peak of their teaching capacity. I thought, and still think, that it represented a serious loss to the State of so much teaching capacity at an age when women are best able to teach.

With regard to the objection to mothers teaching in school, on the contrary, I think that a mother has poise and maturity that give her a special advantage in teaching; that give her a special advantage in relation to the children she controls and, in particular, in dealing with parents and helping and advising them as to the progress of their children and as to the careers their children might well follow. In the past, as we all know, many rural communities revolved around the married teachers, the husband and wife, teaching in the same schools. It was a wonderful advantage to a locality. Many Deputies have made the point that, as a result of not having adequate teaching facilities and trained teachers, many young people leave a particular area. Therefore, the removal of the ban, I believe, will lead to greater stability and less frequent changes.

In addition, a woman who could look forward to teaching, if she so wished, after her marriage would in the early years apply herself much more effectively to her profession and even in the early years would become a more efficient teacher. The fact remains, also, that some 235 married women teachers are already accepted into the service in different parts of the country in a temporary capacity.

Therefore, having regard to the advantages that I have outlined, having regard to the fundamental fact that our first duty is to provide the best possible system of education and, a fortiori, the best standard of teachers—that means trained teachers —I think the decision is unassailable. I want to repeat, and I hope it will get all the publicity it possibly can, that no teacher leaving the training college this summer need be without a job in Ireland in the autumn and that will apply in the foreseeable future and, as I said already, they will have the choice of perhaps two or three jobs, but not necessarily in Dublin.

Deputy Dr. Browne early in his remarks referred to our system of education in rather disparaging terms. He described it as unjust, ramshackle and in a few other extravagant terms. He compared it with other systems in Europe and in the world. I do not know what special qualifications Deputy Dr. Browne has to come to the conclusion that our system is ramshackle, antediluvian, unjust, in comparison with other systems. I have said, and will repeat, that I believe our system is fundamentally sound, that perhaps within the structure there may be defects but, within the structure, we still can cure many of these defects.

I was criticised in some newspaper editorials, following the introduction of the Estimate, for being naïve, for having some illusions and for being unable to take criticism. There was editorial comment in the Irish Times and in the Irish Independent. The Irish Times started by saying how rapidly young Ministers slide into a departmental groove. I suppose they could have added how slowly they slide into the Irish Times groove.

The Irish Independent of 27th May, in criticising me, entitled its leader “Freedom of Opinion” and seemed to imply something sinister by drawing in the Hitler régime in Germany and referring to the freedom of opinion and freedom of speech that were permitted there during that period.

I do not condemn newspaper criticism and I hope that we shall never see the day in this country that in ordinary circumstances the freedom of the Press will be in any way restricted. Freedom of the Press, I suppose, is synonymous with power of the Press to a certain extent but freedom, like power, can be abused. Every newspaper has the right to criticise our Government, to criticise the method of election of the Government and to criticise its administration and various aspects of its administration. Editorials, so far as they express a view of a section or cross-section of the people, have their value and I think I could say the same about letters written to the newspapers and published in them. People who feel so strongly about any particular subject that they are impelled to write to the newspapers are entitled to do so but, in doing so, they ought to identify themselves.

Perhaps, often it is not prudent or even practicable for Press correspondents to do so but letters appearing in the Press over noms-de-plume lose much of their potency. However, if newspaper editorials and letters to the papers make criticism and comment to the point of being unfair, whether it is unfair in respect of the administration of a Department of State or even of an individual, I am sure those who can speak on behalf of the Department and the individual concerned are not expected to hang their heads in shame and to say, “mea oulpa”. I believe they are entitled to meet unfair criticism if they think it is unfair.

The Irish Times editorial complained that I had not mentioned whether the newspaper campaign to which I referred was contained in one or more newspapers. I would like in passing to refer to some of the articles which I had in mind when I spoke in the manner in which I did. The Sunday Independent on 29th December, in an editorial entitled “Your Children Have To Suffer” said:—

"The facts are beyond controversy. These children face the world as semi-illiterates."

It is referring to children leaving the national schools and continues:—

"They can scarcely write or read. Arithmetic, geography, history and other elementary subjects are little more than names to them."

Lower down, it says:—

"50,000 Irish boys and girls who finish their education—save the mark —at the age of 14 are destined for the emigrant ship."

I do not think that is fair criticism. I do not think such remarks are temperate and for that reason I saw fit to criticise what the Sunday Independent said, but I am not the only one who thought that what was contained in these editorials—they were a sequence in the Sunday Independent—was not in accordance with the facts. In this respect, I should like to tie in the I.N.T.O. statement in reference to these editorials, and in reference to Deputy Dr. Browne's opinion of our system of education, in relation to that which they have in other countries and in relation to the products of the systems of education.

The secretary of the I.N.T.O. wrote to the Sunday Independent and his letter was published on 12th January, 1958. It read:—

"The C.E.C. of the I.N.T.O. desire to challenge the misleading statements made in the special article and editorial in recent issues of the Sunday Independent regarding the standard of education reached in Irish primary schools.

"From the ample opportunities available to their members to make a comparative assessment of the educational standards reached in other countries, and from the opinions expressed by visiting educationists, they have no hesitation in saying that the attainments of children, age for age, in our primary schools, in subjects other that Irish, are at least as high as, if not higher than, those which obtain in any other English speaking country."

I take it that Deputy Dr. Browne, like myself, will take that organisation as being a body with the necessary knowledge and authority to speak on educational subjects, and also as a body which has made a study of the educational systems in other countries. However, as I said in my opening statement, I am not suggesting that all is right with our system. I say that it is sound and that we can seek solutions of our problems on the basis on which it is standing at the present time.

Corporal punishment was among the matters alluded to during the course of the debate. I am glad to note that not one Deputy agreed with the views expressed by Deputy Dr. Browne. I know he is convinced of the justice of the point of view which he holds, but I think that some corporal punishment is necessary. I can never understand why this expression "corporal punishment" is used so often to-day. In less extravagant days, people called it slapping or "biffing". The rule, as Deputies know, is that children may be slapped on the open hand. When some questions were put down on this subject during the course of the last year, I looked up what material there was in the Department.

I was amused to come across a reference to the subject in the Irish School Monthly for March, 1955, entitled “Punishment in the Schools”. It referred to a country which, beyond saying any more about it, is a friendly democracy, and where, it says, physical punishment in the schools is forbidden and as a result juvenile delinquency has practically disappeared, only to be replaced by adult delinquency by juveniles. It goes on to give some general examples of that adult delinquency, which I need not go into, and refers to it as having reached terrifying proportions.

I might say, too, that in his Encyclical Letter—Divini Illius Magistri—on the Christian Education of Youth, Pope Pius XII said that disorderly inclinations amongst children must be corrected. That was a direct reference to methods of correction.

Does the Minister realise that there are thousands of schools in which corporal punishment is not used in other countries and in which they get good results?

I will not deny it. In many other countries, the teacher may not administer corporal punishment, but he refers the pupils to the headmaster of the school. Generally, I should like to say that I do not think Deputy Dr. Browne will deny the parents' right to correct their children in a fair manner. The child, as we seek to establish in this country, is given into the custody of the school manager, and while the child is there, the manager is in loco parentis and, to a large extent, he carries all the powers and rights of the parent. Certainly, by implication, he carries the power of correction, whether or not it is delegated to the teacher. Irish teachers are not sadists and only in very rare instances do we get a case where a teacher might have gone beyond the limits, but, as Deputy Russell pointed out, there are remedies for that and they are readily availed of.

If it is shown to be unnecessary, why continue to use it?

I said on rare occasions some teachers might go beyond the limits.

Surely it is unnecessary on any occasion?

I am not going into the fine points——

I wish the Minister would.

I agree with the majority view expressed.

It is the exceptional view in educational circles.

Some Deputies referred to the numbers in preparatory colleges and the favour given to candidates from Gaeltacht areas in the preparatory colleges entrance examination compared with those from other areas. In preparatory colleges, 25 per cent. of the places are reserved for students from the Gaeltacht areas and in entering the training colleges 25 per cent. of the places are reserved for those coming from preparatory colleges which, I said, includes 75 per cent. from the rest of the country and 25 per cent. students from the Gaeltacht.

Some Deputies referred to the necessity for integration of our system. I think it was Deputy Dooley, in particular, who made a special point of it. I should like to ask him what does he mean by integration. I believe there is a reasonable degree of integration. Does he suggest that we should have a system such as they have in England, the 11-plus—or as it might be applied here, 12-plus or 13-plus—where a child at a certain age is asked to undergo an examination and on the results of that is directed into one school or another—to the secondary school, as we know it, or the vocational school? In the first place, such a system would not work in this country, and I might say that the parents here would not tolerate a situation where the State could decide and require that a child, at 11, 12 or 13, shall enter a particular type of school and may not enter another type of school, that he shall become a student of, say, a vocational school and not of a secondary school.

Some Deputies—Deputy Corish, in particular—referred to the necessity for vocational guidance. That is a very big problem. It has been well tackled in many other countries, but, by and large, I believe our children are getting a reasonable degree of vocational guidance by reason of the cooperation between parents and teachers. Parents are possibly in a better position than teachers to decide what vocation their child should follow. The combination of parent and teacher would be sufficient to ensure that the child is pursuing the avocation to which he is best suited. To have an established system of vocational guidance would require specialists, psychiatrists and others, who would require special training in the universities. At the moment, we have not such; and I do not think there is any point in suggesting that we should, at this stage at any rate, establish a vocational guidance scheme without the necessary personnel to undertake it.

Incidentally, they probably had some such scheme in Napoleon's time. I have read Holland Rose's Life of Napoleon in which he refers to the school report when Napoleon left the junior military school at Brienne at the age of 15. The following were the comments in the report: “Constitution: healthy, excellent; character: submissive, sweet, honest, grateful; conduct: very regular. Has always distinguished himself by his application to mathematics. Knows history and geography passably. Very weak in accomplishments. He will be an excellent seaman.” Perhaps if he had been a seaman, the world might be a better place; but that is beside the point.

There have been some terrible "might-have-beens" in that line.

The next major point made was in regard to school buildings and the slowness in providing replacements for schools which are now described as unsuitable. As Deputy Dr. Browne has said, unfortunately the number has been increasing. It is not so much that the rate of progress has been decreasing, but that the standard has been increasing and the system of inspection is bringing to light schools that, in varying degrees, are in need of repair or reconstruction. I should like to say, as has been said during a number of debates in the present session, that it is not the intention to cut down on school buildings during the present year. The money provided last year was something in the region of £1,500,000, but it was unexpended to the extent of £300,000. In fact, I think it is more. The figure in the Estimate this year is £1,400,000. I hope it will be a more realistic figure and that we will be able to absorb the money provided.

It has been admitted that there is a back-log in the money sanctioned by the Department compared with the actual amount spent by the Board of Works—something short of £4,000,000. Unfortunately, that does not necessarily mean that the money is there waiting to be spent. It was provided according as the schools were provided. I should like to say generally in respect of the problem that the number of schools provided in a particular year does not necessarily represent the volume of school buildings or the number of children being catered for in these schools. The fact that 45 schools were erected in one year and 50 in the next does not necessarily mean that, in the year 45 were built, fewer children were catered for.

For some years past, a large part of the school building programme has been taken up with the provision of schools in slum clearance areas—new housing areas in the larger centres such as Dublin, Cork and, to some extent, Limerick. These were very big schools, some of them costing up to £300,000. The result was that it took a very large slice out of the money available. That programme of building new schools in new housing areas is very near completion and it will release more money and effort to provide the smaller schools required in different parts of the country.

Many Deputies expressed themselves dissatisfied with the rate of the building programme. I want to say that I am dissatisfied, too. I do not know where all the blame lies. I do not know that the blame must necessarily lie at the door of the Office of Public Works. I am not sure whether or not the system under which they work restricts their capacity to provide the need, but I intend to find out, and I hope that the tempo will increase in the coming years.

I do not think there were very many other important matters raised during the course of the debate. The last speaker was Deputy O'Donnell. I do not know whether I should describe him as a defeatist or a realist in regard to the Irish language, but I do hope that the outlook he has is not general among the people who live in the Gaeltacht. As far as I can see, he ignores the effort being made in the schools for the revival of the language and says that, unless we pump all our available money into the Gaeltacht, even to the extent of suckling it like a baby in a cradle, no matter what we do, the revival will fail. I believe that is a defeatist view and I hope it is not the general view.

There are so many other matters to which I could refer, I would be only delaying the House by following them up. Some of the points made by Deputies were common, one with the other. Some of the criticisms were made on false premises. I do not want to chase each one.

If the Minister is in a difficulty about making up his mind, I wonder might I mention something?

I think it is of vital importance, from the point of view of what one might call the main road along which the educational scheme is running, that the Minister should address himself to, and try to give some information on, the points I raised in respect of the recommendations of the Council of Education which indicated that a certain changed curriculum ought to be introduced up to 12 years of age. I am sure the Minister appreciates that until that is settled, the additional examinations required to be made in the primary schools cannot be carried out.

First and foremost, there is the further examination of the general position in regard to education in the national schools, the easing of the size of classes and the provision of additional teachers. That is a matter upon which we want to have some information from the Minister. We should like to know what progress he is making in coming to a decision along the lines of the changed curriculum, on the one hand, and the easing of the staffing situation in relation to particular schools, on the other. To what extent has he reached a point at which he can come to some conclusion enabling him to discuss the problems involved with both the teachers and the managers?

I suggest to the Minister that there is in that arena a matter of vital importance if the very necessary examination of the post-12 in the national schools, the position in the continuation and vocational schools is to be pursued. He will shortly have in his hands the report of the Council of Education on that curriculum in the secondary schools. Apart altogether from that, the whole position with regard to the teaching and the curriculum in the primary schools is a matter about which some decision should be taken forthwith.

During the course of the debate, we have heard some of the Deputy teachers——

I want to hear the Minister.

——speak about the number of subjects they are required to teach and referring, in particular, to the three extra subjects—drawing, rural science and physical training— which the Council of Education suggested should be introduced as well. The first step towards achieving the ability to implement that recommendation is the provision of trained teachers. The revocation of the marriage ban will assist to some extent and when we achieve the stage of having only trained teachers in all the schools, we will then be in a position, by reason of the number of teachers available, to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio. It is only then—I think the Deputy will agree with me—that we can contemplate teaching these extra subjects.

Some of them are being taught at the moment. In any case, their introduction would be gradual. Could the Minister go so far as to come to a conclusion on the desirability of having these subjects introduced and then put himself into a position, in relation to the teachers, in which policy was flowing in that direction so that those who are interested in the policy and content of education in the national schools would know what the ideal was and what the day-to-day or year-to-year movement was? I suggest to the Minister something like that is necessary.

I have discussed this matter with the representatives of the I.N.T.O. on more than one occasion and I have more or less given them some indication that I would like to see the recommendation implemented, if possible.

Could the Minister say, when the council have finished the report on secondary education, whether there is any problem that he has in mind to put before them?

That will largely depend on what is contained in the report.

As far as the national school is concerned, will the Minister leave the examination of education in the national school at the stage at which it is at the moment or will he ask the council to pursue their inquiries beyond the 12-year level?

The council did recommend an advisory research group within the Department. I propose to implement that. Whether that group will take over some of the recommendations and examine them in relation to their implementation is a matter upon which I cannot give a definite decision at the moment. With regard to the future of the council itself, I prefer to wait. I must admit I have not contemplated what other tasks it might be asked to do.

As the House has given me another chance, I want to refer to the figures quoted by Deputy Dr. Browne. He stated unequivocally that the majority of our children finished their education at 14 and 15 years of age at the latest. By mishandling figures, he proceeded then to prove to himself that two-thirds of our children receive no formal education after 14 years of age. In the process, he obviously related the total number of pupils in secondary and vocational schools to the number in national schools and, in doing so, he ignored age groups and did not take into account secondary tops in national schools.

The factual position is that, roughly, two-thirds of our children between 14 and 15 receive whole-time education. Many of the balance receive part-time education. In the 14 to 16 age group, there are approximately 125,000 children. Of these, 18,000 still attend the national schools; 40,000 attend secondary schools; 20,000 full-time vocational courses, making in all a vocational courses, making in all a total of 86,000. On a percentage basis, 86,000 out of 125,000 is, roughly, 70 per cent.

The Minister will have to correct the report on emigration in which I found the figure of two-thirds. The I.N.T.O. put the figure as high as 80 per cent.

There is a motion to refer the Estimate back for reconsideration.

I withdraw my motion.

Is Deputy Dr. Browne pressing the motion?

Motion put and declared lost.


Will the Deputies who desire a division please stand?

Deputy Dr. Browne and Deputy McQuillan rose.

The names of the Deputies will be recorded.

You are both taking credit for having created one of the worst educational systems——

It is a great pity we had to wait for Deputy Dr. Browne to come back to Ireland before we found out our imperfections.

Original motion put and declared carried.