Changing Times, Changing Schools? Quality of Life for Students
Public opinion of the Irish educational system is broadly positive. The vast majority of the adult population report high levels of confidence in the educational system and the public are generally satisfied with the performance of schools and teachers (Fahey Hayes and Sinnott, 2005; Kellaghan et al, 2004). In fact, the strength of the educational system has been identified as a key factor in recent economic growth (Fitz Gerald, 2000). Public discussion has focused more on academic outcomes, especially examination grades, than on young people’s broader development. Perhaps paradoxically, given the level of public confidence in the system, the pursuit of academic grades would appear to be a driving force behind the increasing number of young people attending ‘grind’ schools and other fee-paying schools. The proportion of students going on to higher education has increasingly been used in newspaper reports as an indicator of a school’s ‘success’. But what impact do schools have on the actual quality of life of young people in contemporary Ireland? This question is all the more important given the significant transformation in the lives of Irish young people brought about by broader social and economic changes over the past 15 years.
KeywordsYoung People Irish Society Pocket Money Early School Leaving Educational Disadvantage
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