This is a situation that could escalate unless dealt with. They also say though that the situation is so variable from place to place that it is difficult to generalize either as to the current situation or ways to deal with any problems.
The Irish educational system is many ways very similar to that found in other western European countries. It provides primary, secondary, further and higher or tertiary education with children spending 6 hours a day or more in school 5 days a week, a high proportion of a child's waking hours, though they spend even more time out of school than in it. Nevertheless it has a massive influence upon the way children think and behave, especially if the values a child finds at school are reflected in their family and in the wider society.
Education is compulsory for those between the ages of 6 and 15, though many 5 year olds attend school and further and higher education is on the increase, with some 50 per cent of students going on from school to further studies varying from adult literacy courses and those for the unemployed to formal university courses. Education in primary schools follows the 1999 Primary School Curriculum as described on the Irish Education web site. This curriculum document is unusual in educational circles in that it does not provide a religious curriculum, but leaves this to the churches that control the various schools. Its aim is to make the most of each individual's character:-
as it is expressed in each child's personality, intelligence and potential for development. It is designed to nurture the child in all dimensions of his or her life -- spiritual, moral, cognitive, emotional, imaginative, aesthetic, social and physical...
This idea of making the best of each child is contained within the Constitution of Ireland as laid down in 1937. In article 41 section 1 it states clearly that the people of Ireland feel that the family is 'the primary and natural educator of the child' and that it is both the right and the duty of parents to see that their child recieves an education religious, moral, intellectual, physical and social. There is provision for education at home, but rather oddly no minimum standards for this are laid down, though there is provision for the state to see that a child recieves education when , for whatever reason, the parents are unable to do this.
If one looks at the curriculum in an Irish Primary School it is clear that social education is given its place alongside such traditional subjects as mathematics, languages and science. In fact it appears twice in the list provided on the Education Ireland web site. There are a number of different types of primary school - state-funded primary schools, special schools and private primary schools. State funded schools include religious schools, non-denominational schools, multi-denominational schools and Gaelscoileanna i.e schools which operate in the Irish language, but which are outside the usual Gaeltacht, i.e. the area where Gaelic is the first language. Social education is linked to environmental studies and science as well as to personal and health education. It is of course in the earliest years of a child's school life that correct behavior and values must be reinforced if a positive school career is