Education Committee welcomes Department of Education plan to improve literacy and numeracy in schools
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Skills has welcomed a draft national plan by the Department of Education and Skills to improve literacy and numeracy in schools.
The Committee was particularly alarmed at the publication of figures last month by the OECD as part of its PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) which found that the performance of Irish 15 year olds in mathematics and reading had shown a significant deterioration since the last survey in 2006. The Committee responded by actively seeking an urgent meeting with the Department on the PISA ranking, and by also pursuing a subsequent presentation to follow up in particular on literacy and numeracy weaknesses to see what measures the Department is undertaking to deal with the issue.
Following the publication of figures last month by the OECD, the Committee actively sought an urgent meeting with the Department on the PISA ranking and also demanded a presentation in particular on literacy and numeracy and the measures the Department is undertaking to deal with the issue.
Representatives from the Department appeared before a Committee meeting on 13 January while a committee delegation, including Committee Chair Mary Wallace, TD, Ruairi Quinn, TD and Fergus O’Dowd, TD, held an informal meeting with officials from the Department to discuss plans to tackle the problem of declining literacy and numeracy skills among students.
Among the 2011 targets being set by the Department are:
Ensure every school sets and monitors progress on targets for improving literacy and numeracy
Increase proportion of primary children performing at level 3 and 4 on national assessments by 5%
Reduce percentage at level 1 by 5%
Increase proportion of students achieving Grade C or above on Maths ordinary level at end of junior cycle from 77% to 85%
Increase proportion taking Higher Level Maths at junior cycle to 60%
Introduce national assessments for maths and literacy at post-primary level
Better culture of reading and maths among children and young people
Deputy Mary Wallace, Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Skills said: "The Committee welcomes this plan from the Department of Education which seeks to address this very serious problem by introducing necessary reforms and producing a coherent, integrated set of measures to improve literacy and numeracy at all levels. Given our aspiration to position Ireland as a knowledge economy and create high-end jobs, it is necessary that we not only address the decline in mathematics and literacy standards, but also provide students and schools with the necessary steps to advance up the international rankings."
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