Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 24 May 1962

Vol. 195 No. 11

Committee on Finance. - Vóta 30—Oifig an Aire Oideachais (Atógáil).

Debate resumed on the following motion:
Go gcuirfear an Meastachán siar chun a aithbhreithnithe (Deputy P. O'Donnell).

I feel bound to say from long experience of speeches introducing the Vote for Education that I do not think I have ever heard a bleaker one than the Minister for Education offered us on this occasion. If anyone hoped to hear him philosophising on the general policy of education, he must have got a rude shock. When you compare the contribution the Minister made with those of Deputy P. O'Donnell, Deputy Barron, or Deputy Declan Costello, I cannot help believing that the Minister must have felt constrained to blush. It is a pity that the Minister, when introducing his Estimate, should not have availed of the occasion to make a more comprehensive review than he felt it his duty to make. I hope, when he is concluding, he will have somewhat more to say to us about the general prospects of education.

When his manuscript was circulated, it consisted of 16 pages, nearly two and a half pages of which are devoted to a list of 20 summer courses arranged this year for teachers and which he offered as evidence of the improved level of teaching in the vocational schools. I cannot imagine that that list is any adequate substitute for the kind of review we would like to hear from him as to the progress made.

I want to compare that with some of the facts relating to education in the constituency I represent. The Minister spoke of providing the best possible education for children in the primary schools and said that the big problem was that of classes becoming too big. Does the Minister realise that in rural areas like Monaghan, where the population is declining, the number of one-teacher schools is growing every year? There is one parish in the constituency I represent in which there are now four one-teacher schools, where there were all twoteacher schools five or six years ago. In each of these schools, one teacher is trying to teach all the classes, boys and girls, and despite his best efforts, it is impossible to give adequate and reasonable education to children in schools so inadequately staffed.

The special problem of these counties has been recognised recently by the Minister for Industry and Commerce who extended to them the Undeveloped Areas Act but what is more urgently needed is that the Department of Education should suspend the rule relating to the ratio of teacher to pupils. It is not possible for one teacher to teach all the classes in a one-teacher school and there ought to be a special dispensation that two teachers should be provided, even though the total of pupils falls below the requisite number.

If the number falls altogether too low, then the schools should be amalgamated. If an amalgamation is necessary to permit the employment of the minimal number of teachers and if amalgamation is necessary to establish a parochial school, there ought to be an arrangement for a concomitant bus to gather the children from outside areas, bring them to school and bring them home at night. I know of cases where children are still walking three miles to school. That seems to me to be completely unreasonable and a situation which urgently requires remedy.

The larger problem would be solved if in the scattered areas and areas of declining population, there were parochial schools with concomitant transport provided. That is the practice in other countries and here it would provide a solution to the urgent problem. While steps are being taken to provide a permanent solution, I suggest that it is urgently necessary to amend the regulations so as to provide two teachers in the schools in areas where declining population has reduced a school to the status of a one-teacher school. It is not reasonable that children in the depressed areas should be deprived of a reasonable standard of education because of old rules which no longer apply in our present circumstances.

It is very advisable that we should open our eyes to the facts relating to secondary education in this country. There is a lot of obscurantist talk about secondary education but the plain fact is that anyone who has any experience of employing apprentices or training young people has the same story to tell. Although in many characteristics, a boy who never went beyond the sixth book can be a most excellent apprentice and businessman, the boy with two or three years in a secondary school, when it comes to the point of ultimate promotion, is always the one who gets it. When you are training the two young people to any job or craft or trade, the ease with which the people with secondary education can absorb training is quite dramatic.

There are, of course, exceptions to both rules. You will find the genius from the national school who will outstep 95 per cent. of the secondary school pupils and you will find the dull boy or girl coming from the secondary school who does not seem to have got any benefit from it. However, generally speaking, the experience of people concerned with the training of the young after leaving school is that secondary education gives them an advantage which is truly dramatic.

When you come to statistics with regard to this question, it is hard to find satisfactory statistics but certain such have been made available by the World Survey of Education by UNESCO published in Paris in 1962. Although it relates to a period as far back as 1955 and 1957, I think it is true that, for purposes of comparison, the figures are still relevant. They take the estimated population between 15 years and 19 years of age inclusive and they then take the average enrolment in secondary schools which is deemed to include secondary education, vocational education and teacher training.

Of these, we find the rather remarkable figures that the percentage so enrolled of that population of from 15 to 19 years of age is 36 per cent, in Ireland, 88 per cent. in England and Wales, 69 per cent. in Scotland, 75 per cent. in Northern Ireland, 50 per cent. in Norway, 82 per cent. in Denmark, 70 per cent. in Sweden and 87 per cent. in the Netherlands. It is 79 per cent. in the Federal Republic of Germany; 98 per cent. in Japan; and 73 per cent. in the United States of America. Those figures have been further broken down by our Department of Education. The figures I now quote come from the Report of the Department of Education for 1958-59 published by the Stationery Office and the Census of Population, 1951, published also by the Stationery Office.

This covers the enrolment of pupils over 12 and under 18 years of age as full-time pupils in secondary and vocational schools in the Republic of Ireland in the school year 1958-59. The tragic element in this is that the average enrolment over the 26 Counties is 30.1 per cent. That goes from, I think, a maximum of 38 per cent. in Clare to a minimum of 18.7 per cent. in Donegal, 21.4 per cent. in Cavan and 22.8 per cent. in Monaghan. I would ask Deputies to note that the figures I have given cover the school population from 12 to 18 years, whereas the previous figures I gave cover a group of children from 15 to 19 years, inclusive. The point I want to make here is that there is something radically wrong when you find in three counties of Ireland that the average total numbers in vocational and secondary schools are 18.7 per cent., 21.4 per cent, 22.8 per cent., while the national average is 30.1 per cent.

The facilities for vocational and secondary education in these areas appear to be deplorable and yet I cannot imagine — I know it is not true — that children in these areas are less susceptible to education than they are in any other area in Ireland. Any of us who have any knowledge of the people of Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan know that in these areas you have as bright children as come from any part of Ireland. Yet for all the facilities, they are getting a very much poorer chance of higher education than is available in the rest of the country. That is something to which, I think, the Minister for Education should turn his attention at the earliest possible time so as to ensure that that obvious anomaly is rectified.

These certain basic facts are the kinds of things which, I think, should engage the attention of the Minister for Education, and so I propose to offer another statistic which, I think, may surprise some of our colleagues in the House. It refers to the expenditure per head of the population on education and is taken from the World Survey of Education, No. 3, published by UNESCO at Paris, 1962. The total expenditure per head of the population in Ireland on education is £5.6. In England and Wales, it is £13; in Scotland, it is £19; in Northern Ireland, it is £12; in Norway, it is £14.7; in Denmark, it is £12.1; in Sweden, it is £14.6; in Belgium, it is £16.6; in the Netherlands, it is £13.3; in the Federal Republic of Germany, it is £10; in Japan, it is £5; and in the United States of America, it is £32.7.

That figure has been worked out as a percentage of the national income of these several countries. When you come to study it from that point of view, our educational expenditure, as a percentage of national income, is 3.4; England and Wales, 3.9; Scotland, 6.5; Northern Ireland, 5.4; Norway, 4.5; Denmark, 3.9; Sweden, 3.1; Belgium 5.2; the Netherlands, 5.1; The Federal Republic of Germany, 3.5; Japan, 3.5 and the United States of America, 4.3. Making due allowance for the fact that this country is a relatively poor country, it is still true to say that we spend less of the national income on education than any other country in the world, with the exception of Sweden, which has, of course, notoriously a very high national income relative to its population.

Therefore, I suggest to the Minister that one of the most urgent needs of our time is to take effective measures to prevent classes in the primary schools being improperly staffed. I say it is improper staffing in any school to ask one teacher to teach all the pupils in it. The minimum ought to be two teachers and, where possible, three.

We ought to concern ourselves most urgently to expand the opportunities for secondary education for our people, whether it takes the form of general secondary education or vocational education. When I see all the elaborate buildings going up for vocational education, that may be an admirable thing but you can get very good secondary education without luxurious surroundings.

I was talking to a very enterprising secondary schoolmaster not so very long ago. He was telling me of his achievements in the sphere of secondary education. I asked where on earth did he get the money to provide the building. He replied that was the least of the expenses he had. If you get houses and keep them clean and the pupils come and do their daily classes there, they do not expect luxurious surroundings. They expect them to be clean and sanitary. Provided these minima are provided, it is not necessary to spend oceans of money erecting luxurious surroundings to provide secondary education. Suddenly, it dawned on me that there was a great deal in what he was saying. If money were invested in the teachers and certain minimal standards were maintained in the premises, we would be getting much better value than we get by spending huge capital sums to provide luxurious surroundings and then not providing adequate staffs to teach the children.

The figures I have read out to the House demonstrate very dramatically how far behind we have fallen in the provision of secondary education for our children when we realise that 36 per cent. of children between 15 and 19 years of age in this country are having secondary education of some kind as compared with Japan with 98 per cent. and, what is more important to us, countries with whom we will have closer contacts in the immediate future, the Federal Republic of Germany with 79 per cent.; the Netherlands with 87 per cent.; Sweden with 70 per cent.; Denmark with 82 per cent.; Norway with 50 per cent.; Great Britain with 88 per cent.

Unless we remedy that discrepancy in the very early future, we will get a mighty shock when our people are competing in the new economic world to which I believe we are rapidly moving, and if there emerges, as I believe there will in the lifetime of many Deputies now in the House, an Atlantic community of which we shall form part, unless the present Minister for Education or his immediate successor can make very striking advances in secondary education, then our people will be cast back into the role of hewers of wood and drawers of water which I do not think any of us would contemplate with equanimity. But as certainly as we fail to reach the same level in the provision of secondary education as other members of the Atlantic community have already achieved, so certainly shall our people be the hewers of wood and the drawers of water.

We have had experience of that before. We blamed it on maladministration by the British in this country when our people were driven out to America to become there hewers of wood and drawers of water, and to Liverpool, Scotland and elsewhere in the same capacity. We have seen what has happened in the past ten years — 250,000 of our people were sent out to look for industrial employment in England and have become in England the hewers of wood and drawers of water. They are the navvies, the building site workers, the rough workers in England — because they have not got secondary education and they have not secondary education because it was not available for them in this country or their parents could not afford it.

Two points of urgency present themselves. One is that we should make available secondary education, and two, that we should make it available on terms and under conditions in which parents can avail of it for their children. Otherwise, all our talk of progress is useless because progress really does not consist of pounds, shillings and pence. If it is of any value, it should consist of men and women and of giving them a better life. If they are to have a better life consistent with human dignity, then secondary education is urgently needed.

I often wonder where we are all going. When I hear a great deal of the talk of progress going on at the present time, I often wonder do those people ever ask themselves what is this progress to which we are all straining to attain. I recently stood in a big industrial city in Germany where all were congratulating themselves on the dramatic progress that had been made. They were very well off financially. It happened that my visit to one of the largest manufacturing units in that industrial city coincided with the leaving of one shift and the coming on of a second. It was a vast undertaking and there were three shifts.

I stood at the factory gate and from it I could see the flats buildings which are being built in all the industrial cities and I saw the men coming in for the second shift with their tin cans in their hands carrying their luncheons. And there passed me at the gate also the fellows going out of the factory from the first shift. The fellows going in were all pouring out of these big blocks of flats and those going off were all pouring into them. I stood for a moment contemplating this scene and I asked myself wherever had I seen the likes of that before. The only place I could think of was an anthill or a beehive. Then I asked myself what are all these people living for at all?

There were plenty of television masts on the flats buildings but there did not seem to be very much else. One must acknowledge that one cannot be familiar with the inner workings of these people's minds and intellects but their activities seemed to be divided between these immense barrack-like blocks of flats — very modern, very upto-date — and these factories. I asked myself is that the kind of life we are all seeking to purchase for our people? If it is, it is hell. I would sooner be dead than Red but I would sooner be dead also than live under conditions of life analogous to that.

I have a feeling that a great many unthinking people in this country and elsewhere are obsessed and dominated by the idea of the apotheosis of success which would be responsible for the creation of that situation here or anywhere else. Nobody asks: "Suppose we do succeed in creating that position here, where do we go from there?" I think one of the functions of the Minister for Education is to try to promote a standard of intellectual equipment in this country which will get our people to ask themselves the question: "What do we want?" I think the answer should be: to save our souls and to be happy.

In many industrial countries at the present time, and indeed in America, they can do almost anything for their people, except provide them with those two essentials — a chance to save their souls and to be happy. I want to see our people happy and equipped to live in the world, with the prospect of saving their souls. I want to see them happy, not necessarily rich. I am not at all sure that riches will provide them with the key to either of the things which I consider to be the essentials to the survival of the human race. While I do not want our people to be part of the anthill which I saw in that industrial city, I want them to be able to hold their own in the new world into which we are moving, which I foresee as an Atlantic community comprising the whole of free Europe, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Two things are urgently necessary. The first is that we should be versed in Continental languages. One of the most dramatic things I have noticed in the Council of Europe and at other international gatherings where I represented Ireland, was that all Scandinavians speak English. When I speak of all Scandinavians, I do not mean all delegates from Scandinavia at these conferences but the entire population of Scandinavia — Swedes, Norwegians and Danes. They all learn English and can speak it quite freely. I spoke to a child of 14 or 15 years who spoke English quite well and I asked her when she had been to England. She said she had never been there, that she had learned the language at school.

It is the same with the Dutch, though it may not be true to the same extent of the Belgians and the French. It is very widely true now in Federal Germany — not as strikingly as in Scandinavia, but nevertheless very widely true. But in Federal Germany, although there may not be a widespread familiarity with English, there is a widespread familiarity with French. It is nearly true to say that all the Germans have a good working knowledge of some language other than their own. How far is that true of our own people? I do not think it is true at all. If you gathered together all the students of the National University and Trinity College, Dublin, I doubt if you would find that 20 per cent. of the boys would be able to speak a foreign language with any degree of fluency. You might find 20 per cent. of the girls who would at least have such a knowledge of a foreign language that, if they could spend a year abroad, they could build it up very quickly to a good conversational user of it. But that is very poor in comparison with the standards obtaining in the countries to which I have referred.

In this new world into which we are going, it is pathetic to meet civil servants, or people whose business brings them into contact with foreign people for the normal transaction of business, if they are unable to speak French or some Continental language. Of course, it is grotesque to talk about our expanding trade and looking for markets, unless we have Irish people who are fluent in Continental languages. There is no use getting a German agent to try to expand Irish business. He may be doing an excellent job in his own particular sphere of trade in Germany, but he does not know the situation in Ireland as somebody born and bred here does. He does not know what is possible here and he does not know the difficulties that arise and have to be overcome.

Unless we equip our young people to speak Continental languages in the new atmosphere of an Atlantic or European community, on the threshold of which we are now standing, we will be in a most unenviable position. Remember, we will be in competition with the Scandinavians. I concede that in a place like the Council of Europe, you meet pretty expert operators, but you can meet any number of Scandinavians who speak English as well as I can. I do not suggest for a moment that constitutes the average, but I suggest that the average child educated in Sweden and Denmark can speak English, as can the vast majority of those educated in Norway. Can anybody seriously suggest that we approximate to that level of achievement here? It is urgently necessary that we should.

I want to suggest to the Minister that one of the things which would materially contribute to that would be the abolition of the fantastic regulation under which nobody is eligible to be a secondary teacher, unless he is equipped to teach his subjects through the medium of Irish. With one stroke of the pen, we prohibit the secondary schools of the country from employing a Frenchman to teach French, a German to teach German, a Spaniard to teach Spanish or an Italian to teach Italian. You get excellent teachers here to teach those languages, but the plain fact known to most of us is that children taught by a good French professor or an Italian, or a German or a Spaniard, speak the language very much better afterwards than they can ever possibly do when taught by anybody but a very exceptional teacher who learned the language himself or herself.

In any case, it would invaluably supplement the resources of teaching foreign languages if secondary schools here were allowed to employ university graduates from foreign countries to teach foreign languages here and if such persons were eligible for incremental salaries, provided their scholarship was such as to commend itself to the Department of Education as indicating a sufficient standard of education to make them satisfactory teachers. It is well known — it is notorious — that the whole thing is a fraud. No teachers in the secondary schools, except a very few, teach through the medium of Irish. Yet they have all to go through the farce of pretending they do. It is becoming so ludicrous now that the Department of Education itself recognises it is a fraud.

The procedure for establishing the capacity of a teacher to teach through the medium of Irish is this. You walk down the avenue with him and say: "Conus atá tú?""Tá mé go maith,""Lá brea é?""Séa, go deimhin." He is then deemed to be qualified to teach through Irish and to conduct his relations with other teachers through Irish. That kind of cod is revolting, disgusting and fundamentally dishonest. Quite apart from anything else, it constitutes a very serious impediment to the employment of effective staff at a time when such people are urgently necessary.

Can you imagine a situation in which we, like every other country, find ourselves almost unable to get qualified teachers of science? In this country, as far as I know, a person has not only to be a qualified teacher of science but he is supposed to be capable of teaching science through the medium of Irish. Otherwise, he is not eligible for incremental salaries as a secondary teacher. That is draft, and yet we go on with it. I suggest to the Minister that the facilities for teaching science in most of the secondary schools are very poor. That is partly due, I suppose, to the difficulty of getting staff, because science teachers are snapped up by industry and so forth. That problem is being grappled with abroad and it will have to be grappled with here, however it is done. Maybe you will have to pay a premium for science teachers. If you have to, you had better do it.

I see there is provision in the Estimate — I think it is a new provision — for grants for the provision of laboratories and science teaching equipment. That is a very sensible proviso, but there is no use having the laboratories if there are no teachers to go into them. The urgent thing is that you should be able to get science teachers. Any schools with which I have any contact tell me it is virtually impossible to get them. Mark you, the Department of Agriculture had a spot of bother of that kind also. The Department of Agriculture set up such a magnificent salary scale — for which I was myself partly responsible — in connection with the eradication of bovine tuberculosis that it turned all the vest into quasi-millionaires, you could not get a veterinary inspector in the Department and the whole scheme nearly broke down.

To-day, the Minister, after some hullabaloo, strife and pandemonium, has to face the fact that both in Great Britain and here, there is an acute shortage of vest. He had to meet that situation and overcome it. Some elaborate formula was worked out with the Department of Agriculture that they would not get an increase in salary but would get an increase in honorarium. In that way, everybody's face was saved and the vest went back to work. We have now, I believe, a more or less adequate staff.

We are bound to be faced with that, too, in the sphere of secondary education and science teachers. Industry is so ready to employ them and so eager to pay them that I think some recognition of that fact is called for in order to attract a sufficient number of teachers for the teaching of science, in order that we shall not fall hopelessly behind, which at present undoubtedly this country is doing.

I see people in all sorts of exalted positions speaking of the necessity of giving a rural bias to education in the primary schools. I do not particularly want to give a bias in any direction in the primary schools provided I can be sure that the children are getting the best education possible. I direct the attention of the Minister for Education to the facts, and sometimes it is very difficult to sort the facts out from the propaganda.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

There is a great hullabaloo going on at present about increased exports of industrial goods and that gets merged with the general picture of increased exports. When you examine the question of these increased exports, you discover that the increase in exports in 1961 as compared with 1960 is 80 per cent. due to agricultural produce and I think about eight per cent. to industrial exports. I merely mention that fact to remind the House that, economically and financially, this country rests on the foundation of agriculture, both for its exports and the employment of the bulk of our people. If that is allowed to fritter away, the Japanese sewing machines and these other highly desirable exports will not keep us long in being.

I want to see, therefore, the people in whose hands the fundamental source of wealth in this country is going to be put given as good an education as it is possible to get for them, first of all in the primary schools and, secondly, in the secondary schools, which, as I have already emphasised, is necessary if they are to adapt their minds to the technical training which is suitable and applicable to their employment on the land and ultimately as owners of the land.

It is a good thing that their minds in the formative years should be at least open to the possibilities of agricultural life on the land. I find that to get things done, you have to keep at them for years. I know whereof I speak in this regard. There was in general use in the primary schools of this country 40 years ago an agricultural reader called Baldwin's Agricultural Reader. That book had a very dramatic history because it was not written by Professor Baldwin. That book was written by Sir Henry Doran who was the Chief Inspector of the Land Commission. Having written that book, which he composed as a result of years of service as a Land Commission inspector amongst the people, he felt it would not sell if it were not associated with the name of a distinguished agricultural science scholar and he went up to Professor Baldwin who was the Professor of Agricultural Science in Glasnevin and asked him if he would sponsor the book. He said not only that he would sponsor the book but that it could be called by his name and that is how it came to be called Baldwin's Agricultural Reader.

That book was in use in this country for a generation. It was dropped some time in the twenties but I knew of my own experience the difference between the farmers who were grown men coming into my business establishment in Ballaghaderreen who had read Baldwin's Agricultural Reader at school as children and the farmers who had not; and I could always tell at the seed and manure time of year the farmer who had read Baldwin's Agricultural Reader and the farmer who had not. I could always tell, when a man was discussing the feeding of pigs with me or the feeding of calves the farmer who had read that book. They did not become agricultural experts but their minds had been opened and certain aspects of seeds, rotation of crops, manurial procedures and feeding of livestock had been fixed irremovably in their minds. Most of them were men who had received no more than a simple primary education but the benefits as ordinary small farmers that they had derived from that early acquaintanceship with an agricultural reader of that kind were very great.

So strongly did I feel about this that when I was Minister for Agriculture, I gave a professor of Glasnevin College a fee of 500 guineas to re-write Baldwin's Agricultural Reader and bring it up to date. That man's manuscript is in the Department of Agriculture. I knew perfectly well when I got that manuscript brought up to date that the man to whom I had committed the task was not equipped to write it in a style and format that would be acceptable to children of primary schools. What I wanted was the material of Baldwin's Agricultural Reader brought up to date and then to get somebody to edit it in a form that would be acceptable as a school book.

I want to say this quite deliberately: I did not get the slightest encouragement. The vested interests that control the distribution of school books in this country were not interested. I proposed that the Department of Agriculture would subsidise the book at half the cost — I think we reckoned it would cost 5/- to produce it. I wanted to sell it at 2/6d. That proposition did not interest anybody at all. There were many people writing and publishing books for the primary schools and they did not want any new reader to be introduced into the curriculum that might interfere with the sales of the highly profitable volumes they were producing and distributing.

I think that is wrong. Both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education would do very well to take the material of Doran's Agricultural Reader, as revised in that manuscript, edit it, illustrate it and publish it on the basis of a subsidised school reader. I cannot believe that there is not in existence in this country any individual as well able to do that in this age and generation as Sir Henry Doran was able to do it 60 odd years ago. Further, I advise the Minister for Agriculture that the material on which to do it is at present in his Department and it is up to him to get it edited and made available. I do not want necessarily to foist it on anybody; all I want to ensure is that it is made available to those teachers who want to use it in their schools and who believe the children going to their schools could derive advantage from it.

I do not want to conclude without saying a word about the teaching of Irish. Is there any answer to two propositions? We have been 40 years at the present methods of teaching Irish. Can anyone suggest that they have succeeded? That is the first proposition. The second proposition is: if we are to succeed in reviving Irish as a spoken language in this country, is there any hope of doing that if we do not get the support of the majority of the people? I do not think there is. I think, in order to make Irish a spoken language in this country, we will have to get the majority of the people to want it.

Now, does anybody deny that 40 years ago there was a strong, ardent movement for the revival of the language? Is it not a fact that at that time the language movement was one which overrode sectarian and political differences, and gathered into its ranks all sorts of people, who differed about everything else, but who had a common loyalty and desire to see the language survive? Does anybody suggest that a similar state of affairs obtains to-day? I suggest that the methods we have been using over the past 40 years have changed the whole atmosphere of enthusiasm for and love of the language into one of considerable resistance to and dislike of the language. I regard that as a tragedy. I believe that arises very largely from a sense of injustice and from a growing association in the public mind of the language movement with manifest injustices which cry out for redress.

It was not necessary to march seven times round the Walls of Jericho to bring them crashing down about the teaching of infants through the medium of Irish. I am informed by teachers now that nobody is expected to teach the infants through the medium of Irish any longer. It is a dead letter and, in fact, they teach whatever they think wise and prudent to children in the infant classes. What disgusts me is that, although now that is universally known to be the fact, nobody must say so. The theory is the children in the infant classes are still to be taught through the medium of Irish, but there are a whole lot of circulars, and qualifications, and so forth. The fact is the stupid fraud is dead and the teachers are now able to teach the children in the infant classes as they think best. If they can put in a word of Irish occasionally, then they can put it in, but they ordinarily use the vernacular of the children's homes; where desirable, they use a phrase, or two, in Irish, and so on.

That is a sensible approach. No one can complain about it. So long as the teacher is perfectly free to teach the children through the vernacular of the home, I am quite prepared to leave it in the discretion of the average teacher in this country, dealing with infant children, not to overtax, bewilder, or harass them in the ordinary course of treating them as infants in the infant school. But all that cod to which I have referred was carried on and I have known teachers to be driven almost into mental hospitals by the belief that they had a strict obligation on them to use nothing but the Irish language for the first two years of an infant's training in the infant school. It was daft. It was wholly wrong. It permitted great evil. I hope, and I believe, that I am right in understanding that the whole silly fraud has been put an end to and that our teachers are now free to use the vernacular of the home in the infant school, wherever they consider that necessary.

I want to renew my protest against a system whereunder a child in this country who gets honours or pass in every subject, but fails in Irish, is refused his leaving certificate. I say that system is unjustifiable. It is wrong; it is unjust. It should be put an end to. There had to be substituted for the present absurd situation a proviso whereby any person who wished to get a statement from the Department of Education of the subjects in which he had passed in his leaving certificate could pay half-a-crown and get it. But unless one pays the halfcrown, one will not get it. But nobody knows about it. The theory is that anybody can get the statement. The fact is that you can get it if you pay half-a-crown.

Side by side with that, we have built up throughout our social pattern of employment an established principle that you cannot get a job in the ESB, enter hospital for training as a nurse, or enter a whole range of employment in this country, if you have not got your leaving certificate. You will not get your leaving certificate, no matter how clever you are, if you have not passed in Irish. I have had occassion to say in the public streets of this city that I know President Truman, and I have met President Adenaeur and President de Gaulle, all of whom are monolingual, and none of whom would be eligible for employment in the ESB, if he lived in Ireland. Is that not daft? There are brilliant men who have not a gift for languages, but, in Ireland, if you have not got the gift, you can go to Birmingham to look for a job; you can be President of the United States of America but you cannot get a job in the ESB. It is all a cod.

It is wholly wrong again that children cannot get higher education in our universities here, unless they take Irish in their matriculation. It is a monstrous thing to have afflicted women bustling up to Drumcondra and implorting the Archbishop to allow them to send their children to Trinity because the children cannot pass in Irish, or else to a redbrick university in England. The further considerable obstacle arises that some children are thereby excluded from university education altogether. I do not know how long we will carry on with that pestilent fraud, but, the longer we carry on, the stronger will become the opposition to the revival of the language, and that is something I deplore.

I should like to see harnessed to the revival movement all the enthusiasm, and ardour, and hope that surrounded it 40 years ago, when, I think, we were really going places. In my young lifetime, the Irish language emerged from the shades and became again an important national asset. In the past 40 years, I have seen the Gaeltacht, which I knew intimately as a youngster, fading away. Anyone who knows it knows that 40 years ago you would not hear a world of English in the streets of Falcarragh. Deputy O'Donnell will bear me out in that, Now, you do not hear a world of Irish. Forty years ago, in Tourmakeady, you would not hear a world of English Now you will not hear a word of Irish. You could go out the road to Ballingeary 40 years ago and Irish was universally spoken east of Inchigeela. Now, I doubt if there is very much Irish in Ballingeary itself. These are the reservoirs of the language. They have dwindled away to not much more than a quarter of what they were 40 years ago.

Side by side with that, I have seen a growing antipathy to the language spread amongst the young people. I believe the very call for the survival of the language is itself endangered. I believe it is in danger for the reasons I have outlined. Oddly enough, in certain respects, I think we should go further than we are going at present. I do not think it is possible to get established in this city, if a group of parents want it, a school in which the subjects will be taught exclusively through the medium of Irish, a school in which Irish is the ordinary vernacular of teaching. Such a school should be made available where it is possible and where a sufficient group of parents in an urban area such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and so on, where there is an aggregation of people, come to the Department of Education and say, for example: "There are 40 parents here. We have 50 children available for teaching now and the prospect of a growing group of children down the years. We want a school which will teach our children through the medium of the Irish language, the vernacular which they hear at home." At present, I do not think it is possible to get it. Can they?

A national school.

But not a secondary school?

It is not directly——

Can they get a national school now?

Is that a recent development?

It has happened in my time.

I think it is desirable. It ought to be possible for people who can get a sufficient number of children to send them to a school where the vernacular of their home will be the vernacular of the school.

I would point out that the continued association of a deep sense of grievance with the language policy is doing the language itself an infinity of harm. It is also true that deep resentment is felt by many people because Irish is made a pre-condition of promotion in the public service in strictly technical areas, which is a manifest injustice and which has resulted in many excellent men being driven out of our public service or else spending their lives under a deep sense of justified grievance. It has created the impression in the minds of many — which I do not believe is wholly unsubstantiated — that Irish has on more than one occasion been used as a fraudulent lever to secure the appointment of an inferior candidate over the head of a superior candidate. All these abuses should be stopped.

We should be able to get together again and enrol the services of voluntary organisations such as Gael Linn, the Gaelic League, and others, and give them all the help we can to build up the old enthusiasm that existed for the revival of the language. I should like to see Irish taught and I think it is correct that Irish should be taught in every secondary school in Ireland. But let me be perfectly clear: I do not want any ambiguity about what I believe in. I want it taught as a subject. However, a child who gets a pass or honours in five subjects of the approved matriculation subjects should be entitled to receive the leaving certificate, with all that it implies. Over and above that, children going for the leaving certificate should be entitled to get a document, whatever you like to call it, a certificate such as the leaving certificate, for a group of subjects representing what would be called a liberal education—call it a diploma or a statement, if you like—setting out each individual subject in which the candidate passed, if he or she has not succeeded in passing all of the five subjects.

However you manage, if a child with a mathematical bent finds a difficulty which he is unable to overcome in passing an examination in Irish, that should not prevent him from having the right to employment or preferment in his own country. It certainly should not prevent him from having access to the university in his own country to which he would normally go, the National University of Ireland.

I hope the Minister will be able to give us some reassurance in regard to the following matters. First, I hope he will be able to reassure us that a more rational approach to this whole Irish question will be adopted. In the second place, I hope he will be able to reassure us that the scandal of the one-teacher school will be ended, with special reference to the areas I have described where the tendency for the school population to dwindle rapidly is becoming more marked. In the third place, I hope he will be able to tell us that he is conscious of the need to expand the opportunity for secondary school education for our children, not only in respect of premises but of teaching personnel in both science and foreign languages.

I do not want to minimise the problem. This is a relatively poor country and, if we are to continue to be a free and independent Republic, then relatively poor we shall continue to be. People ought to face that fact: it is the price of independence. We can change it any day we like on the same terms as Newfoundland made the change, namely, by incorporating ourselves in some larger unit where greater wealth is universally available. I do not think that is a price we ought to pay. However, we have got to recognise that our resolution not to pay that price in some measure limits the resources available to us for the things we would like to do. It makes it all the more urgently incumbent upon us to make a right choice between the various things we can do. I suggest the Minister should assert with emphasis in the Government that the highest priority be given to education.

I am always surprised when I hear intelligent and experienced people such as Deputy Dillon and his counterparts on the other side of the House talk about the country being poor and the apparent inevitability of being a poor country because we want to live in a particular way and then to hear them say the alternative to being poor is to join a great bloc and in that way increase our wealth while losing certain values which would be inevitable because of our membership of such a bloc. To me, that argument is unacceptable. I do not think one has to become a part of any great bloc to achieve a position of prosperity in society. It was possible certainly in the past 40 years — it is more difficult now than ever before, but even now it is possible—to create a viable economy and to provide the Minister for Education and the Minister for Health with the money necessary to establish social justice and a proper system of education.

As proof of that, we need only look at countries such as Switzerland, which is a tiny country, and Denmark, which is still independent, even though it is in the Scandinavian bloc. Those countries with their limited resources, particularly in the case of Denmark, are very like ours, and they have been able to create an economy and a standard of living for their people including a system of education, health services, care for old people, which has never been bettered by any of the great powers — the American bloc, the Russian bloc or the Central European bloc. Those small countries have shown that if their politicians are prepared to pursue their ambitions they can create a just society and the logical conclusion is that we equally can be the possessors of an educational system second to none in Europe or the world.

We have, I suppose, one of the most inefficient educational systems in Europe. It seems, to me that can only be the result of design; I cannot agree it happened unconsciously. It must have been the design of successive Governments. They must have decided that we should set up an educational system under which the privileged class of society established by the British would be perpetuated. It is about time we gave up blaming the British for whatever system they established in Ireland. Their conservatives have long ago abandoned a sort of apartheid type of society, with segregation of the poor or less wealthy in regard to secondary schools and universities. We must accept full responsibility, and successive Governments must accept full responsibility, for the fact that we have a system of education like the system of apartheid which operates against the unfortunate Africans in Secondary schools and universities.

The fact that they have not got money keeps the bulk of our children from attending secondary schools. The Department of Education has been the instrument used by successive Governments to create this kind of society in which the old levels are perpetuated and the doctor's son becomes a doctor, a lawyer's son becomes a lawyer, a carpenter's son becomes a carpenter, and so on. Only in exceptional circumstances is it possible for a child to rise above the parental level. That is grossly unjust and it is a very sad commentary on the system of education we have created by our own hand. We can blame no one but ourselves.

It is fascinating to listen to leading speakers from both sides of the House saying they want to have education accessible to every child who is intellectually capable of using it, but they will not go on to the next step and say: "We must give up the old conservative approach. We have not achieved our aim and we must change the whole basic system." If they were sincere, if they were not hypocritical, they would see to it that each child got the equal opportunity promised in the Proclamation that we would cherish equally all the children of the nation. As everyone knows we cherish them equally but some rather more equally than others. That is certainly true of our society.

I wish some of our leading politicians would have the courage to face up to what the former leader of the Fianna Fáil Party said at one time — I am not criticising him; he is not present —"If this system does not work, let us go outside it." I wish someone on one side or the other would go outside the system which we have tried in a dedicated way for 40 years. People sincerely believed that it could work but it has not worked and we are left in the position that both sides of the House admit that we have not got money for more scholarships, more secondary or university education, to pay the teachers better, to provide better equipment in the schools, or any of the other prerequisites of an efficient system of education.

We have not got the money. That is not an accident. It is a direct result of the failure of our economic policies. Other countries have shown that it can be done. We are not ploughing any new furrow or suggesting radical changes. Other countries have shown the way. It is unfortunate that we should now be tailing behind so many of the Afro-Asian countries which have accepted that some form of public ownership or social system is the only way by which money can be made available. Whether we like it or not that is the only way. Industry and agriculture should be organised in order to create the optimum wealth through the operation of an interrelationship of the State, labour and capital. With the Minister for Education in educational matters, the Minister for Health in health matters, the Minister for Social Welfare in social welfare matters, and all the Ministers and Departments, we could create the ideal society.

Someone once said that many of our politicians became politicians by accident, but that cannot be accepted as an excuse for what they have not done. I suppose we must be grateful for what they have done, but there is a new generation now. The Minister is the successor of Deputy Moylan, Deputy Derrig, Deputy Mulcahy and even Deputy de Valera in his time. All those people of the older generation have been succeeded by Deputy Hillery. Whatever was done in their time to make any serious attempt to create an egalitarian type of educational system, the Minister has made none at all.

It seemed to me when Deputy Lynch was Minister for Education it would be difficult to get a worse, more complacent, more futile, more inert Minister, but to my amazement Deputy Hillery has succeeded. I think I was one of the first members of this House to stand up and congratulate and praise Deputy Hillery on his accession to the position of Minister. I think both sides of the House were glad to see him in that position. He is a decent person, we all like him, and he is a young man with tremendous opportunities and possibilities before him and with the background of his own education behind him, an education which was denied to many of the older generation, through no fault of their own, because they were busy doing something very much more important at the time. They cannot be blamed for that. Perhaps they can be exculpated for what they have not done but that excuse was not there for Deputy Lynch and it is not there for Deputy Hillery.

It now appears that he accepts the status of his predecessor, Deputy Lynch, as a sort of political news-reel for the civil servants of the Department. I dislike talking about civil servants in that way. I do not wish to appear to criticise them. If they have taken powers and if they have aggregated powers to which they have no right constitutionally it is because of the decision of the Minister. Everyone who has been Minister of a Department knows that a Minister gets everything in draft form, whether it be a speech or the answer to a Question, but it is ultimately the Minister who is responsible and it is he only who decides or has the power to decide, with the consent of his Government, what the policy of the Department should be.

It is scandalous the way Deputy Hillery as Minister for Education has spent his time shivering behind his Departmental sheet of paper, refusing to make any comment or creative suggestions or to make any advance from the state of inertia which has prevailed in the Department for 40 years.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

There is no Department more important than the Department of Education in the matter of shaping the attitudes, the minds, the standards and the values of our society. It is particularly sad to see a young persons with the great power he has, deciding that he will not choose to use it. I do not think there is any section in the Department which has not suffered as a result of the continuity of conservative, obscurantist laissez faire inertia of the Department of Education over 40 years, whether it is in regard to the building of schools or the policy on the language. It is quite furtile for anyone to say that we are going to revive the language as the spoken language of this country. They have seen to it that it will be quite impossible to revive it as the spoken language. It is dead: it is a corpse. It is now as dead as dust in a tomb and there is no question of reviving it. You might as well face up to that.

It is the same thing in relation to small matters, the attitude to corporal punishment, and to the very big one, the question of giving equal opportunity to children to access to higher education in our society, the question of scholarships. In none of these things has the Minister made any serious attempt to create an egalitarian type of society in Ireland, or to deal with the serious problems of the Irish language, the school building programme, the overcrowding of classes and so on. I do not understand how a Minister who at the same time is a doctor, could, with the complacency he showed, tell us recently that the last figure he has for the number of schools which have to be built is approximately 736. He is building them, as Deputy O'Donnell said, for a decreasing population. The figure changes very little. I think it was 1,000 when the late Deputy Moylan was here years ago. The figure is 736 at the average building rate of 78 per year.

The astonishing thing to me is that the Minister for Education should have seemed to have felt a certain self-satisfaction in this wonderful achievement. Leaving aside the question of continued dereliction, and old buildings — I think the figure is 40 a year; it is a difficult figure to get — it will take him approximately 10 years — the whole of a child's life in any of these schools — to get around to building the schools. Why is he so self-satisfied? Why is he so complacent about it? Why does he do nothing?

There was, I suppose, some reasonable objection at the end of the war when we had a shortage of building materials and a tremendous demand for slum clearance, above all. Those came under priority needs but that is all gone now. At the moment, you find the lounge bars being re-decorated, shops receiving new fronts. Luxury hotels having storeys added to them. Building is going on in that type of thing at a tremendous rate but that is primarily designed for the outsider, for the tourists and for the foreigner.

Why should we accept that our own people should play second fiddle in this question of priority? It permeates the whole of the Government's side, this attitude to our own people. It is particularly noticeable in the Department of Justice, the attitude that everything must be designed for the tourist. But why does the Minister, with his background of health, tolerate a situation where over 700 schools are so bad, so derelict that they have been condemned by the doctors concerned? Everyone knows that these schools are not condemned unless they are so bad that it is no longer possible to conceal the fact from anyone.

Yet the Minister sits there and tells us that at the end of 10 years, assuming that no schools are going to fall into this particular type of decay, we will have got rid of this backlog. But the technicians, the craftsmen, and the materials are there. Every newspaper, every television and radio broadcast, all the economic forecasts and the Civil Service bulletins tell us we never had it so good, that society was never so prosperous and the national income never better; the money is there to give away to various industrialist, to pay into gold mines or copper mines and other sorts of curious, doubtful projects, but yet we do not appear to have the money to build schools.

The Minister does not appear to have created any sense of urgency in the minds of his colleagues that something should be done for these unfortunate children who are being educated in these derelict schools. Is he right? Is he satisfied? Why should he be satisfied? Is there any one of us who would like to see our children educated in these schools? Why should we be satisfied to let the children of other people be educated in them, if we would not like our own children to be educated there? Have not they equal rights in our community? Is that not more of the hypocrisy that we have gone on with for 40 years?

Is it not time that one Minister for Education decided that this is a problem which can be rapidly dealt with? It is merely a physical problem, a question of labour, capital and material, and all these are available, Why is it that the Minister has not made any attempt to deal with this problem? It is quite scandalous that this is the type and standard of building which we tolerate for the working class children because it is for the children of the working classes that we tolerate them.

Clongowes, Belvedere, Blackrock, High School and all the other colleages have their football grounds, swimming pools and recreation facilities. I do not grudge them to them, but I do not see why they should get these things and why the mass of the population should be denied them and should find themselves in overcrowded schools with unfortunate teachers who are so much frustrated that they abuse the idea of corporal punishment. It is a very bad system. It is a very serious comment on the Minister's failure to understand his moral responsibilities to the people that he should not take serious steps to deal with this problem at a time when we protest that we are dealing with all the really important problems of our society.

The universities are practically completely closed to the poorer child simply because his father happens to be an agricultural worker, a labourer, or a person who will not work or is unemployed. Why should the talented child of these people he penalised? How can you justify, how can you rationalise this discrimination against the intelligent and talented children of poor parents who could become scientists, or lawyers, doctors or architects in which professions they could fulfil whatever God-given talents they may have? Surely that is a betrayal of our responsibility to these children?

If a man happens to be born into a particular level of society in which he cannot earn any more than £7, £8 or £9 per week and he is encouraged, as people are in this country, to have large families, how can these children get to a secondary school or a university? A mere handful of scholarships is handed out. The Minister replied to a question of mine recently that there was a 300 per cent, increase in secondary school scholarships and a 200 per cent, increase in university scholarships. That reminded me of a statement made by Hore Belisha at the beginning of the last war, when people were frightened in England, when he said with great complacency and self-satisfaction: "You will be glad to hear that we have increased the output of Spitfires by 500 per cent, and of Hurricanes by 300 per cent." That meant that instead of producing two Spitfires a month, they were producing ten and instead of producing five Hurricanes a month, they were producing 15.

That was completely dishonest, as dishonest as the intellectual wriggling of the Minister which has denoted his whole attitude throughout his tenure of office. The vast majority of our children are completely excluded from higher education in our society after the Minister's miserable contribution to remedy the effects of years of failure on the part of successive Governments. The vast bulk of our children are as badly off as ever before because the scholarships are completely inadequate in number and in the amount of money.

For a man with a salary of £10 or £15 a week to send his child to a secondary school or university is a great sacrifice. Without a scholarship, it is impossible. The sin of the father is that he was not born into a society that could give him a secondary education and that sin is visited by us on the children. Without a big income, the father cannot send his child to a secondary school or university. The scholarships given here are so inadequate that many fathers cannot afford to take advantage of them on behalf of their children. I see around my own constituency every day lovely young boys and girls who are obviously of a high order of intelligence and at 14 years of age; they are sent off to pedal messenger bicycles or to sell newspapers. That is a complete scandal. We would not have it for our own children or for ourselves. Why do we then tolerate it for any of our fellow citizens?

The idea recently expressed by the Minister for Justice that an increase of salary is a status symbol is something that permeates everything in our society. If you have money you have no fears for your old age, no need to worry about becoming ill, no need to worry about education in secondary school or university and ultimately a seat on a board of directors. You start at the top and need never leave the top. That is the kind of society envisaged by the Department of Education at the instance of succeeding Governments, in spite of the undertaking given by the members of some of these Governments to their comrades 40 years ago that the Government of the Republic would cherish the children of all its citizens.

The older men did something; they attempted something. They did something at some time to create a new Ireland but is it not time that the Minister for Education and the Minister for Industry and Commerce tried to add something to that instead of sitting on it and smiling like Cheshire cats, with nothing behind the smiles but blank minds? I am not going into the figures of the amounts which are given to send a child to a secondary school or university. When a person sends a child to a secondary school or university, that person denies himself of a possible source of income. A child of 14 years of age goes out to work. I do not know what the shopkeeper or newspaper owner who employs him to sell his paper squeezes out of him, but he gets about 30/- or £2 a week. The unfortunate parent sometimes must have that money and that is one of the sacrifices which he makes by sending his child to a secondary school. That parent denies himself that couple of pounds. He has to clothe and feed the child, pay transport costs and provide for the child through all those years.

The Minister has made no effort to find out to what extent the money he pays out in scholarships is a sufficient cover for these costs. Presumably, he merely thought of a number and possibly divided it by two and then settled on that as the grant to be paid. Anybody who sees the money available would know and accept that the figures are completely inaccurate even when the increase is taken into consideration. The number was increased by 300 per cent., or whatever it is. That merely increase the ratio from 5 per cent. to 15 per cent. and from 4 per cent. to 8 per cent. Scholarships administered by local authorities vary between £100 and £200 a year. Having regard to the increasing cost of living, transport costs, the cost of books and materials, it is quite clear that there should be a very radical increase not only in the number of the scholarships but also in the amount of money made available in order to provide for the total living costs of the person while he or she is attending the secondary school or the university.

Most of the time the child is faced with the frustrating experience of being sufficiently clever to merit the scholarship and then being financially unable to avail of it. There should be only one test. When a child is ready to finish in the national school at 14 years of age he or she should be given a chance to go to a vocational or secondary school and from that to the university if intellectually equipped. This has nothing to do with the parent's ability to pay. If the parent can pay, well and good. Access to the secondary school or the university should be based on the intellectual capacity of the child and not on the economic or financial standing of the child's parents. Until we get to such a state of society it is rubbish to talk about a system in which everybody is treated alike.

Very briefly, I should like to talk about punishment in the schools. I know I am considered a crank in this matter as in other matters. This is a thing to which I should like to refer regularly. The constant drop wears the stone and eventually, perhaps, something will be achieved. I wonder whether the Minister on this relatively simple subject has any views at all other than the Departmental views? I believe it is completely wrong to touch a child under any circumstances whether in the home or at school. I am considered in the minority in this respect. I believe this for the reason that either you have a rational individual as a child or as an adult, or you cannot. You can either explain something to a child or you cannot. It is quite futile to beat a child who does not know why you are doing it. That seems to me to be completely unthinkable. It is fantastic to see in the street mothers beating infants who do not know what it is all about. It is completely wrong. It should not be done in the schools at all. I do not know whether it is done at that age.

When the child gets to a state of reason you can explain certain things to him. For example, you can point to a fire and tell him that is a fire and that he will burn himself if he falls into it. He can be told that if he throws a stone at a windows he will break the glass. It is possible to make the child understand that good behaviour is in the common interest. The child will be prepared to accept your case if you reason, just as I hope Deputies will accept my reasoning when I speak here. I do not mind if they do not but I do not beat the Deputies on the head because they do not go my way. It is astonishing to think that a teacher or an adult beats a child. After talking to the child for a while explaining what it should not do, the child does the very thing that is wrong and it is beaten. It would be absurd to bring that type of reasoning into adult life. It is completely illogical.

Beating a child breaks the most desirable nexus between the parent and the child—love of the parent for the child and the respect and regard which the child has for its parents. That is destroyed immediately the parent does what to the child must be an unreasonable act, beating him for something he does not understand. To my mind, that is the great case against using violence towards the child. I do not believe in using violence towards anybody at any time. It is most unthinkable for grown-ups to use their superior strength to terrify a child into submission. That is what it is, call it what you like.

Bishop Lucey is a man for whom I have considerable regard because I like the way he comes out into the open to state his point of view. He does not stay behind closed doors. If you disagree with his views he does not mind. He has a right to express his views. That is the perfect relationship. He was justifying corporal punishment on foot, I think, of original sin. I do not understand that rationalisation at all. I always believed that the purpose of Baptism was to get rid of original sin but if Baptism does not do it beating will not do it either. I do not think there is any justification whatever for the beating of children.

I am not putting forward any original views or ideas here. This attitude to children is accepted in many countries. It is now old hat in many countries. There are literally hundreds of schools in which nobody would dare touch a child even it ideologically they believed they should touch the child. They would be guilty of criminal assault. That is the position in many schools in America, Canada and the Scandinavian countries. This is not an original thesis of mine at all. All it means is that, as usual, we are 40 years behind the times. We shall catch up but we should hurry up a little. The best way to educate a child is to reason with him.

We talk about democracy, the democratic idea and the right of free speech but we are controverting that, denying that and refuting that. The children are frightened of us and we are surprised that when we turn our backs, they do the stupid thing. It is because they are frightened, not of the thing they are told not to do, but of the punishment for doing it that as soon as our backs are turned, they do it. That creates a particularly perverted type of personality, of individual.

A difficulty most teachers have is the crowded classroom and the only way, apperently, in which they can keep order is to put the fear of God into the children. That again is visiting on the children the crimes of their parents. There should be no overcrowded classes. All classes should be retained at a reasonable size. Of course the wrong person to blame for all this is the child.

There have been numerous cases in which teachers have abused their powers. I think they are fewer now than they were in my time when there was an awful lot of brutality by the teachers. We read in the papers of those cases which come to the newspapers through the courts. It is possible there are not many of them, but it is also possible that because the child is too frightened of the teacher he or she is afraid to tell. Any child I have spoken to has told me he is beaten, not outrageously, but beaten all the same, and not as a disciplinary measure alone but for not knowing lessons, which is contrary to the regulations. I understand that abuse of the precise letter of the regulations is widespread and until the teachers come to see that beating is the wrong approach to the creation and the moulding of a child's mind — as I believe they will in time — there is excessive beating. The Minister should come down with complete ruthlessness on the teacher in the first place to protect the children.

But, the Minister, through his behaviour, does not care to protect the children in his anxiety to defend his Departmental officials against the public, to defend the teachers against the parents. He will defend anybody except the people paying his salary — the public and their children. The parents have a right, where a child is badly beaten, to expect some action from the Minister. No matter what happens in the courts the public have a right to know what penalty is imposed by the Department on the teacher concerned, what action was taken to discipline that teacher. Time and again here in the House when we seek information we are denied it on the excuse that it is not the practice to give it, that there is no precedent.

The Minister for Education has complete power to break with practice. He does not have to follow precedent. He can change Departmental policy in any way he wants. That is the wonderful power he has arising out of his office as Minister and he should take steps to carry out the old axiom — to see that not only should justice be done but that it should be seen to be done by those who send their children to school and who up to now have had no remedy except the very expensive and costly one of bringing their grievance to the courts. They should not have to resort to this remedy. Then, of course, they do not know, even if they do win in court, whether the child will have to go back to this perverted individual, who delights in beating him, because the Minister will take no remedial action to deal with the defect.

I should like to say a few words on the language. No subject has been more tangled up in our tortured history as the question of the Irish language. It is very sad indeed that the attempt to review Irish as the spoken language should have resulted in the appalling situation we have at the moment where I do not think there is the slightest hope of its ever becoming the spoken language of the people. I think the blame for this lies directly with the educationists of the last 40 years basing their approach to the education of our people on the assumption that you can bring the horse to the water and make it drink — basing it on compulsion, on the old exploded souperism idea of 1889 and 1890.

That is essentially the underlying principle of compulsion in the Irish language — change your religion and you will get a bowl of soup — all leading to the most appalling duplicity, bigotry, hypocrisy, disillusionment and disenchantment. I imagine there would be no more united front among parents and young people than on this question of the necessity for forcibly being taught Irish in the schools. I believe you would get virtual unanimity on the question of the abolition of compulsion in the teaching of the Irish language.

That is a sad commentary in many ways. After all, a language is merely a method of communication, essentially functional. In our history it has certain highly emotional overtones in so far as it was, 40 years ago, a badge of nationality, of revolution, of resentment of the authorities, and it has carried that symbol through my generation into this one. It will no longer wash. It is no longer any use talking about this badge of nationality. Our young people now, even those who are not very well educated, have the ability to look around them and see the New Zealanders, the Canadians, the Americans, all speaking one language — the English language — all being different peoples with different backgrounds, different outlooks. Tell an American there is no differences between him and an Englishman and see what he says, see what he does.

This fake attempt at rationalisation, this imposition of a language because we want to retain our nationality, has been exposed as loose hypocritical humbug and that line of policy has created this sad situation of disillusionment among young people and their parents and they no longer accept it. Let us, first of all, face the reality of the 1,000,000, who have had to get out. Again, this is related to the fact that we cannot give them work here at home. Give them work here and then possibly you could justify forcing a particular language on them because they could then get their living here and would not have to go to England.

As I think I have mentioned here already, there is the case of a young lad from the Gaeltacht who had to go to work on the underground railway in London. He had a secondary school education but still had to learn enough English to get a job as a conductor because he had nothing but Irish. Leaving aside that extreme case, how can you get a child to accept the proposition that he should spend so much time in school learning what is essentially a dead language? How many Deputies here speak the language? Deputy P. O'Donnell, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Minister for Education and Deputy Ó Briain are the only Deputies I have heard speak the Irish language here. The vast majority of Deputies neither speak it nor understand it.

Look in the buses and in the cinemas. Look at television. Look at our Irish industrialists, practically all of them Irish-Irelanders, products of the great Gaelic revival. How many of them put their advertisements across in Irish Television in Irish? Many of them put their names over the doors in Irish, but how many of them send out their literature in Irish? How many politicians send out their literature in Irish? These are hard realities. How many newspapers are printed in Irish? One of the most powerful anglicising influences in the Gaeltacht — I hope Deputy de Valera will forgive me — is the Irish Press because it is printed in English. I realise it is not possible to run a commercial enterprise in any other way- It is part of the rewards of power. There is the continual anglicising influence of the cinema, of the churches, of the newspapers, now of the telivision and, above all, of the Common Market, the merger with Europe. It is all so irrational. It tends to perpetuate the idea that the language revivalists were either fools or knaves or hypocrites.

Many of us have loved and do love the Irish language. It is a very beautiful thing. I am afraid it is now becoming rather of historic importance. I am very sad because I love it. Deputy O'Donnell was the only person who spoke in any way constructively and with any reality on this question. The language should come from the Gaeltacht into the rest of Ireland instead of our attempting, as we did, to impose Parnell Square Irish on the unfortunate people in the Gaeltacht in one way or another. In my view, this is now a post mortem and there is very little else to say except de mortuis nil nisi bonum. That is about all one can say about Irish. A commission was set up, a typical diversionary tactic. The Minister clearly has no views on it either. I hope the commission will have enough sense and courage to recommend that the compulsion, wherever it be, will be removed. Even though many people tell us there is no compulsion, either there is, or an awful lot of people think there is. You have got to reorientate your policy so that it is made quite clear that the language is no longer part of “souperism” as it has been in order to get a job with a State or semiState body or secure an appointment with a local authority. We must remove from people's minds the damage done over 40 years. I often think that the best thing to do with the Irish language now would be to say nothing about it in the hope that another generation may happen upon it and recognise it as the beautiful thing it is and the great treasure it is. In that way we might come to love it and learn it because of itself.

One of the things I cannot tolerate — perhaps it is the reason I am a socialist — is the idea of anything being imposed on anybody, whether religious or political beliefs, a language or anything else. It is completely alien to my whole make-up and I expect that is true of most people. It is not confined to our people either. Most people are the same. We have the independent right to make up our own minds and we do not like anybody to do it for us. Unfortunately, that is the stupid, shortsighted policy of the Department of Education. They have created a situation in which those who love the language have in fact destroyed it. As wilde said: Love doth destroy what love hath created.

Finally, I want to refer to the dishonest and equivocal answers of the Minister for Education—he excelled himself—in regard to the report of the Swedish experts who came over here to examine design in this country. It is very interesting to watch the reaction to this thing, that is, the official reaction. I must say the reaction of the ordinary people was perfectly understandable. They took it in good humour. Their attitude was "Fair enough, that is criticism. We are well able to take it." They were sufficiently adult to be able to accept it as fair criticism. Nobody believes we are perfect, except the Department of Education and whatever puppet they have at that time putting out the views of the day.

This group of distinguished experts were brought over to examine the whole question of design in Ireland and they published a report. I asked the Minister what he was going to do about that report. The relevant phrase is on page 45 of the report, where it is stated:

At the National College of Art in Dublin, we found facilities and space which at first sight appeared to be sufficient and offer possibilities for development. However, the final impression which we took away from this school was that the methods of education were completely out of date and it is our opinion that the National College of Art as presently constituted cannot be the starting point for the education of people in the different crafts of indeed for the education of painters, sculptors or designers.

In the face of this very clear-cut, categorical condemnation of the education and teaching methods in the National College of Art, the Minister said : "I am not aware that the report contains any complaint about the standard of teaching in the National College of Art." Had these simple English words any meaning for the Minister for Education? Of all people, surely he should understand the simple Anglo-Saxon words used in this report:

The final impression we took away from this school was that the methods of education were completely out of date and it is our opinion that the National College of Art as presently constituted cannot be the starting point....

How could the Minister for Education come into this House and say that the teaching methods are not criticised in that report?

They were there for one and a half hours during the vacation period and there were no pupils present. How could they make a comment?

The answer to the Minister is this. These are most reputable people.

That does not extend the time of their visit.

Please let me finish, then the Minister can say what he likes. These people are most reputable in their professions in their own country. These people are highly experienced.


They are all over 21. They have a sense of responsibility. They came to a foreign country and made a considered report. That report contained an outright and forthright condemnation of the teaching methods of the National College of Art. The Minister said there was no condemnation of the teaching methods.

They saw no teaching. It was during the vacation period and there were no students there.

This report was published by the experts. They say the methods——

It was vacation time when they were there and there were no students.

The Minister can say that a thousand times if he likes, but he can see in the report if he gets around to reading it, and apparently he has not been allowed to read it——

I have read it. I have already told the Deputy it was during the vacation period and there was no teaching going on.

I presume that these people noticed there was no teaching going on in the school when they were there. In spite of the fact that they came, in the vacation period, it is stated here in black and white — I might as well read it again for the Minister:

However, the final impression which we took away from this school was that the methods of education were completely out of date and it is our opinion that the National College of Art as presently constituted cannot be the starting point for the education of people in the different crafts or indeed for the education of painters, sculptors or designers.

The people who made these charges are responsible people. If they are not true, the Minister has a moral responsibility to the teachers of the College of Art to have an objective examination made into the educational methods of the college. If these people are disproved, let us publish that report. Let us refute the charges of these Swedish experts. Let us tell them they were talking through their hats, that they had no right to come to these conclusions. Let us tell them this is a gross misrepresentation of the position, that it is a gross misuse of the privilege they were given of being allowed to go to our College of Art. The Minister has this responsibility to the professors and to the teachers in the College of Art. If he does not propose to do that this smear sticks, and it is the Minister and his Departmental officials who are allowing these serious charges to be made against the teaching methods in the College of Art and doing nothing about it as the Minister does nothing about anything else because he is completely incompetent and incapable of doing anything about anything.

Anyone would think the Deputy did not like me.

You do not matter a damn but as Minister for Education you are important. The Minister says the teaching methods were not criticised so that the Minister by means of a verbal fiddle, devised for him no doubt by his expert fiddlers in the Department——

The Deputy may not refer to the officials of the Department. The Minister is responsible, not the officials.

I am trying to impress that on him. He says on the one hand that the teaching methods were not criticised and yet we are told here that the teaching methods were completely out of date. Is the Minister prepared in the letter heading for the National College of Art to tell anybody who wants any information on the National College of Art that according to these Swedish experts on design the National College of Art as at present constituted cannot be the starting point for the education of people in the different crafts or indeed for the education of painters, sculptors or designers? Is he prepared to tell the public that on the letter heading of the National College of Art prospectus or whatever it may be?

This is either a fact or it is not a fact. It is a serious charge. Will the Minister refute that charge? Are these people irresponsible? Does the Minister think they committed any breach of privilege conferred on them by being allowed access to this place? Is this untrue? I am allowing the Minister to say that. Are these charges untrue?

It is very big of the Deputy to allow me to do anything. Who does he think he is, God Almighty?

I am asking for a simple answer to a simple question.

Does the Deputy think the whole House is responsible to him?

These charges will stick.

The Deputy is giving me permission to talk? He is wonderful.

I got an answer to a question yesterday in which the Minister told me he has complete control over and responsibility for this college. It is clear that if the position in relation to the teaching methods of the college is so bad, to continue to maintain that position is a further dereliction of the Minister's responsibility. I charge the Minister that if the teaching methods are completely out of date the College of Art authorities are taking money under false pretences from parents who wish their children to be educated in the College of Art. This is just one other example of the Minister's gross failure to understand the tremendous power and authority he has in his position as Minister for Education.

The whole Department of Education is an interesting commentary on the complete aseptic sterility of the Minister's behaviour during his period in office as a sort of political castrate in charge of this tremendously important Department. That is emphasised in the fact that of all the sub-departments under his control the only one which I can honestly and sincerely praise with any justification is the Museum, which is worth visiting.

Nuair a bhí an Teachta Dr. de Brún ag caint, labhar sé fá bhuachaill ón Ghaeltacht a bhí ar aithne aige a chuaidh go Londain agus arbh éigin dó meán scolaíocht a fháil le post a fháil ar na busanna. Tá aithne mhaith ar an nGaeltacht agam agus ní thuigim cionnus a thiocfadh le sin a bheith amhlaidh mar ní shílim go bhfuil duine ar bith sa Ghaeltacht nach bhfuil Béarla aige.

Ní raibh Béarla ag an ngasúr seo.

Tá sé tuigthe anois gurb é an Meastachán le h-aghaidh Oideachais an Meastachán is tábhachtaí dá bhfuil ann. Go mór mór nuair atá muid ag tabhairt ár n-aghaidh ar an Chomh-margadh tuigfimíd go gcaithfimid a bheith níos éifeachtaí ar gach bealach agus níl dóigh ar bith le bheith níos éifeachtaí ná tríd an oideachais.

Blianta ó shoin dob é an bunoideachais tús agus deire an oideachais a bhí ar fáil do'n chuid is mó de pháistí na tíre seo ach ní mar sin atá an scéal anois. 'Sé an chéad céim ar dréimre an oideachais anois í. Mar gheall ar sin sílim gurbh fhiú aibhbhreithniú a thabhairt ar an chuid sin de'n chóras mar aontaimíd go léir gur mór an difir a bheadh ins an bhunoideachas go geineireálta nuair is é aidhm atá aige tús agus desire an oideachais a bheith ann féin agus nuair atá sé d'aidhm aige bheith in a bhun chloch do chóras in a mbeadh ceard scolaíocht nó meán scolaíocht nó Ollscolaíocht i ndán do pháistí uile na tíre.

Ní hé an bunoideachas an chuid is laige den chóras. Ní hé sin le rá nach dtig linn é a leasú ach ag an am céanna níl dabht nó go bhfuil sé ag déanamh na h-oibre atá leagtha amach dó go maith. Ba mhaith liomsa roinnt leasaithe a mholadh. Tá tagairt déanta ag an Aire do ranganna móra.

Tá ranganna i bhfad ró mhór, go fóill. I rang mór, tá an teangmháil pearsanta ar cheart a bheith idir an mhúinteoir agus an páiste in easnamh agus is mór an cailliúint é sin. Nuair a labhrann muid fé ranganna móra is gnáthach linn smaoitiú ar ranganna ins na cathracha. Sílim féin gur ceart dúinn ár n-aigne a dhíriú fosta ar ranganna fán dtuaith, ina bhfuil, bfhéidir, níos lú páistí, ach cionnus go bhfuil trí nó ceithre ranganna fé chúram an mhúinteor tá an dóigh atá ar an mhuinteoir agus ar na páistí sin chomh h-olc agus atá sé ar mhúinteorí agus páistí ins na ranganna móra san cháthair.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

Mar sin, nuair a leagtar síos an uimhir ar ceart, do réir na saineolaithe, a bheith i rang ar bith, is ceart smaoitiú i gcónaí go mba ceart an uimhir sin a bheith níos ísle nuair atá trí nó ceithre ranganna fé chúram mhúinteora.

Mhol mé anuraidh go mba ceart ceangal a bheith idir na coláistí oiliúna agus an Ollscoil. Admhaím nach ionann céim agus ábaltacht ach, ag an am chéanna, tugann céim stáid don mhúinteoir agus nuair atá an grád sin aige is mó a chuireann muintir na h-áite, san áit in a bhfuil sé ag obair, suim san oideachas. Tá sé tábhachtach go gcuirfimíd in a luí, chomh fada agus is féidir linn, ar na daoine an tábhacht atá ag baint le h-oideachas agus sílim fhéin gurb é an rud a mhol mé ceann des na slíte le sin a dhéanamh.

Nuair atá sé ar intinn scoil úr a thógáil mholfainn nach ceart don Roinn a bheith sásta feasta le píosa talamh nach dtiocfadh ach an scoil féin a thógáil air. Is ceart go mbeadh sé fairsing go leór le paírc imeartha a bheith le gach scoil. Tá sé seo anthábhactach. Tugann sé oiliúint coirp don pháiste agus cuidíonn sé len a shláinte. Caithfidh an Roinn, do réir mar is eol dom, ghlacadh leis an mheastachán is ísle nuair atáthar ag brath scoil úr a thógáil. Labhair mé faoi seo cheana. Ní shílim go bhfuil an chóras sin maith. Tá fhios agam go bhfuil dáinsear ann má arthruítear an córas ach, ag an am chéanna, tá an baol ann, má ghlactar i gcónaí leis an meastachán is ísle, nach bhfuighmuíd i gcónaí scoil a bhfuil caidhdeán maith tógála ann.

Moladh anseo go minic go mba cheart an leabhair chéana a choinnilt sa rang, bliain i ndiaidh a chéile. Tá deachrachtaí ag baint leis sin ins na scoileanna amuigh fán dtuath, áit a bhfuil dhá rang le chéile mar aonad nuair a bhíonn léightheóireacht ar siúl. Dá n-athroimíd na leabhair bliain in ndiaidh a chéile bheadh an leabhair chéana dhá bliain i ndiaidh a chéile ag an páiste amháin agus caillfheadh sé suim san leíghtheóireacht. Chomh maith, éiríonn na leabhair salach agus go minic bíonn síiad strachatha. Aontaim gur ceart an costas a choinnilt chomh hísil agus is féidir é ach sílim go gcaithimíd bealach eile a fháil as an fhadhb seo.

Fuair mé figiúirí ón Roinn a theasbeánann go ndeachaidh an méid páiste atá ag freastal ar mheánscoileanna i gCondae Lughbhaí in áirde go mór agus is ionmholta an rud seo. Chím go ndeachaidh an méid páiste atá ag freastal ar na ceard-scoileanna ins na ranganna lae in áirde fosta, ach is oth lion a fheicáil go bhfuil an líon daoine atá ag freastal ar na ranganna oiche ins na ceard-scoileanna ag dul in ísle. Ba mhaith liom da dtiocfadh leis an Aire a innsint dúinn cad chuige a bhfuil sé sin amhlaidh.

I have spoken on the question of the Irish language on practically every occassion on which I have spoken on the Education Estimate. I do not think it is necessary for me to say very much on it.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

I have never sought to make the point that the language is the prerogative of my Party, or of any other Party in this House. The statements I have made on previous occassions in that regard will bear that out. I believe that, unless there is a united effort made to preserve the language, it will not be possible to do so. That belief, however, does not preclude me from saying what I think about the programme put forward by the Fine Gael Party in the last election. With regard to that particular programme, I believe it would spell the deathknell of the Irish language. Again, I am not dealing with it from a political point of view. I am dealing with it simply from the point of view of having examined into it, reached certain conclusions about it, and saying exactly what I think about it.

Deputy Dillon mentioned two points in the course of his speech, two points which were the main features of the programme. One of them was that a scholar, failing in the Irish in leaving certificate, should not fail in the examination as a whole. The other was that we should endeavour to progress by assisting the voluntary associations. With regard to the leaving certificate, I think to a very large extent the position is being overestimated. I do not say that this is being done deliberately. It is a fact that some children fail the leaving certificate because of Irish, but judging by the figures issued by the Minister in 1960—I have not got those for 1961—the number is exceptionally low, and there was just nothing to show that the particular children who failed the leaving certificate because of Irish would have passed the examination in any case. I think it would be worthwhile for the Minister to give the percentages again of the students who failed in the leaving certificate because of Irish alone. The inference generally is, where parents are concerned, in relation to this particular proposal that, if the Irish language were not a failing subject in the examination, their children would do exceptionally well. I do not think there is really any need for me to go into that particular aspect. In my view the ultimate result of this proposal would be that some schools would remove the Irish language from the curriculum altogether and thus deprive certain Irish children of the right to learn their own language.

With regard to the voluntary organisations working for the language, I would agree with Deputy O'Donnell that the people in Comhaltas Uladh have worked very enthusiastically and very energetically to promote the language.

I am afraid, however, I cannot go very much further with him than that because the results of this work, to say the least of it, are rather meagre. In the Six Counties at the present time there are very, very few primary schools teaching the Irish language. In the Catholic secondary schools, or in a considerable number of them, the Irish language is taught. I think a considerable part of the advance made with regard to the Irish languages in the Six Counties is due to the fact that any scholar who does the senior examination, taking Irish as a subject, has to do an oral examination as well.

Deputy O'Donnell referred to the fact that the Down footballers were able to speak Irish. I think they were largely because of the system I have mentioned. In the majority of the Catholic secondary schools in the Six Counties the pupils take Irish as a language for the senior examination, and they must pass an oral examination in the particular language they take.

It has been suggested that this programme of the Fine Gael Party was an election gimmick. I do not go that far, but I am not a bit happy with the proposals made by them. I do not claim that the system in operation at present is perfect, but I maintain that considerable progress has been made. Much greater progress could be made, however, and we could, I think, if we were genuine and sincerely anxious to promote the language, pool our resources and try to evolve the best possible system for furthering the Irish language.

With the coming of the Common Market many people say that our entry to the Common Market will help the development of the language. Others say it will be the end of the language. I think we should look at it from this point of view: with the coming of the Common Market, all economic boundaries will disappear, not overnight but over a period of years. Likewise all political boundaries will disappear. We will then be in the position in which countries will be identified only by their language, their culture, and their traditions. Whether we like it or not, I think that if we lose our language entirely and become full members of the Common Market with Britain, we will be identified in the minds of the other members of the Common Market as British. We will lose our own individual identity. It is very easy to say that we can continue to keep our culture and our traditions without endeavouring to foster our own language. Deputy Dr. Browne said that countries like New Zealand, American and Canada have kept their identity, but we must remember always that we are a very small nation in comparison with them. We are very close to a very powerful nation, Britain. We are between two very powerful English speaking nations and it would be very much more difficult for us to preserve our culture and our traditions than it is for those other countries which have not got the same powerful influences bearing on them.

Keep the Irish speakers at home, and we will have the language. That is how to do it.

Deputy Faulkner is on the right lines.

I have mentioned that when the Common Market becomes a fact, political boundaries will disappear. Economic boundaries will disappear. Some people say it will be a good thing if cultural boundaries also disappear and we have one common culture. Personally I believe that would sow the seeds of disintegration in the whole Common Market concept.

Most unlikely.

I do not ask that my opinion be taken on this. I will quote for the House a statement made by Professor Walter Hallstein, President of EEC, in an address on "The EEC and the Community of the Free World" to the Swiss in Zurich on 24th November, 1961.

"Our Committees, too, represent an endeavour so to link peoples with differing traditions and different languages that they can fully preserve their character, and their personality. It has never been the purpose of European integration to streamline Europe. We are deeply conscious that in the last resort Europe's wealth and strength are founded on her diversity, and to preserve this is one of the aims which we have set ourselves in the integration of Europe."

Again, Mons. Petitpierre, a former member of the Swiss Government, says:

"If we consider the situation as a whole and from a long term aspect, we find that every strengthening of Europe strengthens the outlook for our independence that any weakening will damage it. This is, however, subject to a form being found for European unity which will respect at least the fundamental differences without which Europe would no longer be what it is today. Such respect for differences ... is no cause of weakness, quite the reverse.

To these men, one of whom has been a guiding light in EEC, the preservation of language and culture is of paramount importance. One could hardly describe them as woolly-headed idealists. They are, in fact, hard-headed politicians and businessmen and we would be well advised to heed their advice and plan our future and the future of our language on the basis of what they have said and what they believe.

There are just a few short points I should like to make in connection with secondary education. In the future at least one more language will be a necessity. It is recognised now that it is very important that anybody who wishes to do business with another country should be able to speak the language of that country. Some time ago a research institute in America rapped American business men over the knuckles because they persisted in using English in their dealings with non-English speaking European countries to the detriment of trade with those countries. Latin to-day is essential for matriculation, but so far as I am aware, it is of little value after entering the university except perhaps for an Arts degree. In the case of students who wish to enter a university, and who do not intend taking an Arts degree, Latin should be dropped. There is no need for them to learn it, and it could be replaced by another language.

On the question of the teaching of European languages, complaints have been made to me that it is extremely difficult, especially in boy's schools, to get languages teachers. For example, I am told it is almost impossible to get teachers of French. To overcome that difficulty, I would suggest that intensive languages summer courses should be held for secondary teachers and a certificate awarded after three or four courses. The teacher should then be permitted to teach the language chosen by him at the course, beginning with the first year in the secondary schools.

I would be interested to know the percentage of girls in secondary schools who take a pass arithmetic paper in the intermediate certificate. The standard of that paper is very low. In fact, I have often wondered why it is set at all. I know that in days gone by, it was taken for granted that girls had no aptitude for maths. That bubble was burst a considerable time ago and, in justice to the girls, the standard of that paper should be raised because of the effect it has on their choice of a career afterwards. Where a low standard of maths is permitted, so far as I know it is not possible for a girl to pursue any science course except botany.

I would also suggest that, where possible, there should be refresher courses for secondary teachers. The secondary teachers themselves are anxious to have such courses provided for them. I should like to say a word of praise of the courses which are at present being carried out, under the auspices of the Department, for national teachers, and the courses run by other organisations, such as those operated by the INTO, with the sanction of the Department.

In regard to the papers for secondary school examinations, I feel that the Irish poetry questions in the intermediate certificate are too difficult. There is one other point I should like to make in regard to Irish poetry in the intermediate and leaving certificates. It is practically all confined to the 18th and 19th centuries and gives the impression that there are no present day poets writing in the Irish language. I know there was a change last year and that some modern poems in the Irish language were on the paper, but I should like to see that further extended.

Looking over the Minister's Estimate, one could find, if one were so inclined, some matters to enthuse about, but I believe we should expect in 1962 something more than what is contained in it. In my belief, it is nothing more than an example of the stagnation which has set in the Department. They are not prepared to take any definite step in any direction, and the steps they do take are very small. They appear to me to be rather afraid of something, and they take the attitude: "If we do not do anything, we cannot be blamed for anything."

I am somewhat at a loss speaking on this Estimate, because I feel there is no use in my suggesting anything or in any other Deputy making any suggestion. Since I came into the House, I have put down a number of Questions suggesting what we feel would be improvements in the system of education but I got nothing from the Minister but very evasive replies to the effect that everything is quite all right as it is, that they are quite prepared for any eventuality in the future, and that in fact many changes have been made in our educational system over the past number of years. On one occassion the Minister mentioned a figure of at least 50 changes that have been made. That may be so, but I and a great many others who are more in contact with our educational system fail to see any significant changes over the past 20 or 30 years.

I put down a Question dealing with the recent report on the secondary school curriculum by the Council of Education because I wanted to know if the Minister would implement a few of the recommendations set out in that report. I hasten to add that it was hard for me to find any very encouraging suggestions in the report, but after a bit of looking, I came across a few. I put these by way of Question to the Minister and to my amazement he told me that all those suggestions were going back again to certain educational bodies where they would be discussed and sent back to him after another lapse of time, with a submission of their views.

On certain points, that might be all right but all the points about which I asked the Minister were fairly evident to everyone. One point was the enlarging of the intermediate certificate scholarships which was not done since 1929. Even that suggestion has to go back to these educational authorities for their views on whether or not it is a good idea to enlarge the intermediate certificate scholarships. Things like that make me feel that I am hitting my head against a stone wall when I speak on this Estimate. As I say, this Estimate is an attempt to keep us in a complacent mood in regard to this problem.

Progress reported: Committee to sit again.