Teachers are qualified to test their own students in Leaving
Mary Kenny makes valid points and raises good questions about teachers giving public exam marks to their students (“Teachers might be wise not to enter the risky blackboard jungle of grading their students”, Irish Independent, 27 August).
In my time as principal of two large co-educational comprehensive schools in England I have seen aspects of the process first hand. Long before the public examinations, the subject teachers and their subject supervisors had to present the estimated grades to the examination boards.
These grades were later used by the authorities to compare them with the grades achieved. When a school’s or student’s grades deviated significantly from previous performance or predicted results, a double check of examiners’ grades was sometimes automatically initiated.
Student progress, as measured by exam performance, was one of three key factors in determining teacher salary trends. As a client, my annual compensation-related performance goals also included general student goals, one of which was always related to student academic success.
In England, teachers who were equipped with very powerful databases of individual student performance had overall high confidence in their professional judgement.
I see no reason why Ireland’s superior teachers should not enjoy the same professional confidence.
Alan Whelan, Killarney, Co.Kerry
How the UN is making things worse for the most vulnerable in society
dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob is not far off the mark when it comes to the UN in the 21st century (“The UN is not an organization to rely on in an hour of need,” Letters, April 28).
While many good and important humanitarian decisions have been made by the UN over the years, it has also made some situations in daily life worse.
For example, in about 1971, the UN declared that it was a violation of human rights to force psychiatric patients to be institutionalized and/or to take medication for their illness.
Bean counters in every Western country jumped for joy as they attacked the most vulnerable in society, drastically reducing psychiatric services and literally throwing men and women out into the streets, many of whom were institutionalized. Fifty years later, around the world, we are paying the price for inadequate mental health services—incarceration, trials, homelessness, and violence.
Why on earth can no political party in western democracy recognize the grave implications, let alone the importance of a health service centered on preventive health care? That would save billions in a few years.
Declan Foley, Melbourne, Australia
Modern psychological counseling smacks of a lack of wisdom
dr David Coleman’s article in the Irish Independent from April 28 was headlined “Smacking doesn’t help – only makes things worse”.
It is reminiscent of what we taught in our schools many years ago. The maxim at the time was: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but the child left to himself brings his mother to shame.”
Leo Gormley, Dundalk, Co Louth
Winter and its rising costs will test our resolve
The cost of living in Ireland has meant that household budgets have been decimated by ever-increasing costs. Headline inflation is 6.7 percent while consumer price inflation is up 1.2 percent.
The average cost of running a household is more than €16,000 per year. Home heating oil and gas have skyrocketed by 50 percent in 2021, while annual electricity bills will cost consumers an average of €1,572 a year. In addition, the ECB is likely to raise its key interest rate to 0.25 percent. If the forecasts are to be believed, this will rise steadily to 0.75 percent and affect variable rate mortgage holders, adding an additional €380 per year to a €250,000 mortgage. Rents have risen by an average of 8.3 percent.
The national debt has increased by 33 billion euros to a staggering 237.2 billion euros thanks to the pandemic. That’s 47,000 euros for every man, woman and child who lives here. Debt servicing costs have amounted to 60 billion euros over the past ten years.
To top it off, we will be introducing a carbon tax in May that will increase fuel costs by an additional 2c to 2.5c.
Added to this are the many levies and penalties that were introduced after the financial crash of 2008.
None of the above figures make good reading and as summer approaches and we reduce our carbon footprint and use of heating oil, the approaching winter will test the resolve of not only the government but the people of this island as well place.
Christy Galligan, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/teachers-are-qualified-to-test-their-own-pupils-in-leaving-41598194.html Teachers are qualified to test their own students in Leaving