Irish Catholic Madrassas Skimp on Science and PE

The curriculum in Irish schools suggests that educators and the government agree on at least one thing: “Science bad, religion good.”

Elementary-school teachers in Ireland spend double the time on religious instruction that is the global average. (That comparison presumably includes hardcore Islamic madrassas in places like Somalia and Pakistan).

Amazingly enough, that’s mostly the result of Department of Education guidelines that say children must receive 30 minutes of religious instruction a day — two and a half hours a week. Then add church and Sunday school on the weekends, natch.

Even so, more than two-thirds of Irish teachers apparently don’t find that nearly enough, and spend additional minutes or hours on religion, at the expense of science and physical education.


Now, one saner mind is questioning the imbalance.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has questioned the amount of time spent teaching children religion in primary schools at the expense of science and physical education (PE). Department of Education rules require primary schools to devote 30 minutes a day – two-and- a-half-hours a week – to religion, compared with 60 minutes a week for science and PE. A recent Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) survey found over 70 percent of teachers were spending more than the required time on religion. The extra time usually goes on preparing children for sacraments such as First Communion and Confirmation.

Irish primary pupils spend 4 percent of their time on science – half the international average – and 10 percent on religion, more than double the global norm.

[image via coastreflect]