Committee Reports::Report No. 02 - Gender Equality in Education in the Republic of Ireland (1984-1991)::25 April, 1989::Appendix


Letter received from Secretary of the I.V.E.A

25th April, 1989.

Mr. Jim Gleeson,

Thomond College of Education,



Dear Jim,

I refer to your letter of 18th inst. re gender of VEC members.

It would appear that your research has been overtaken by events in the Dail.

You should be aware of this Association’s attitude to the manner in which VECs are systematically selected as scapegoats in the matter of teacher appointments. We find this selectivity extraordinary in view of the fact that,

(a)VECs operate the only open, structured and clearly identifiable system for appointing teachers in the country, and

(b)VECs employ only 5,000 teachers, (13%) as compared to 21,000 primary and 12,000 secondary teachers.

Not alone is the interest in the VEC system out of proportion with its size but we invariably end up with bad press for our efforts.

I think we are entitled to feel that when the other sectors of Irish education reach the stage of having structures comparable to VEC structures the whole system might be perceived as being less discrimminatorv and more openly democratic.

You will appreciate that it would be entirely inappropriate for this office to maintain records on the social and political composition of VECs. This applies particularly to organisations and/or political parties represented and also to the religious persuasion and gender of the members. Consequently we are not in a position to be of assistance on this occasion. The information requested by you is availabl individual VECs only, as far as I know.

Best wishes with your project.

Yours sincerely,

J. K. Rooney,

General Secretary.


1.See, for example, the work of Rosemary Deem, Pat O’Mahony (Schools for the Boys?) and others.

1aHannan, D F and S Shorthall, The Quality of Their Education, ESRI Report No. 153, 1991, p. 172.

2.T.U.I. Submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Womens’ Rights presented in an Appendix to the 1985 T.U.I. Annual Report.

3.Crooks and O’Dwyer ed., Education and Training in the European Community of the 1990s, CDVEC Curriculum Development Unit, 1990, pp 18-19.

4.Compass, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1985, p. 11.

5.Issues and Structures in Education, Interim Curriculum and Examinations Board, p. 11.

6.In Our Schools, Interim Curriculum and Examinations Board, pp 29-30.

7.See Bob Moon, Modular Curriculum, London 1988, pp 8ff.

8.A Guide to the Junior Certificate, N.C.C.A., 1989, pp 12-13.

9.National Curriculum, From Policy to Practice, D.E.S., 1989, 3.8

10.op cit, p. 18 (dealing with coherence).

11.Rules and Programmes for Secondary Schools, Department of Education, 31 (iv).

12.Primary School Curriculum, Teachers’ Handbook, Part 2, Stationery Office, Dublin, 1971, p. 310.

13.Ibid, p. 213.

14.Primary School Curriculum, Teachers’ Handbook, Part 1, Stationery Office, Dublin, 1971, p. 354.

15.Ibid, p. 356.

16.Ibid, p. 347.

17.Ibid, p. 324.

18.Ibid, p. 364.

19.Ibid, p. 326.

20.Report of the Review Body on the Primary Curriculum, Stationery Office, Dubin, 1990, Ch. 7, pp 60-68.

21.op cit., Ch. 8, pp 70-79.

22.The Development of Equal Opportunities: March 1987 - September 1988; Co-ordinated Report, Stationery Office, Dublin, pp 7-8.

23.Andrew, Burke and Patricia J Fontes, Educational Beliefs and Practices of Sixth-Class Teachers in Irish Primary Schools in the Irish Journal of Education, 1986, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp 72-73.

24.Donal G Mulcahy, Curriculum and Policy in Irish Post-Primary Education, I.P.A., 1981, Chapter 1.

25.Kathleen Lynch, The Hidden Curriculum, Falmer Press, 1989, pp. 101, 141 ff.

26.Lynch, K., Republic of Ireland in Wilson, M. ed. Girls and Young Women in Education, A European Perspective, Exeter, 1991, pp 132 ff.

27.OECD, Review of National Policies for Education, Ireland, Paris, 1991, p. 66

27a.International Assessment of Educational Progress (IAEP) Report,Learning Mathematics, Princeton, 1992, pp. 84 ff.

28.The figures in this section are taken from Facts that Figure in Equal Opportunities and Education, Equal Opportunities Commission.

29.See for example:

Whyte, Judith, Gender, science and technology: InService Handbook, SCDC, Longmans, York 1985.

Catton, John, Ways and Means : the Craft, Design and Technology Education of Girls, SCDC, Longmans, York 1985.

Kelly, A., Whyte, J. and Smail, B., Girls into Science and Technology : the Final Report, 1984. Available from Department of Sociology, University of Manchester.

Smail, B., Girl-friendly Science : Avoiding Sex bias in the Curriculum, SCDC, Longmans, York 1985.

Harding, J., Switched off: the Science Education of Girls, SCDC, Longmans, York 1981.

Grant, Martin, ‘Craft, design and technology’, in Whyte, J. (ed.), Sexism in the Secondary Curriculum, Harper and Row, 1983.

Catton, John, ‘Girls and the CDT curriculum’ in Cross, A. and McCormick, B. (ed.), Technology in Schools, Open University Press, 1986.

Kelly, Alison, (ed.), Science for Girls ?, Open University Press, 1987.

30.Alison Kelly, Judith Whyte and Barbara Smail, ‘Girls into science and technology: final report’ in Kelly, A. (ed.), Science for Girls ?, Open University Press, 1987, pp 100ff.

31.D Hannan, R Breen et al, Schooling and Sex Roles, E.S.R.I., 1983.

32.Clancy, P., Who goes to College ? A second national survey of participation in Higher Education, Dublin, The Higher Education Authority, 1988.

33.Clancy, P., Gender differences in student participation at third level in C Hussey, (ed) Equal opportunities for women in higher education, Dublin. The Higher Education Authority, 1989.

34.Clancy, P., ‘Selection for College : Some Implications for Second Level’,Compas, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp 15-16.

35.See Education Reform in Northern Ireland: The Way Forward, D.E.N.I., 1988.

36.Hannan, D. F. and S. Shortall The Quality of Their Education, ESRI Report No. 153, 1991, pp. 2 ff

37.‘Social and Political Studies in the Curriculum’, A Discussion Document,’ N.C.C.A., 1986, p. 11.

38.For further information regarding the Transition I initiatives see The National Dossier on European Community Pilot Projects (1979-82), published by the Department of Education; Dermot Stokes, Beyond School, Curriculum Development Unit, Dublin (Transition II (1983-87) and McNamara, Williams and Herron ed., Achievement and Aspiration, Drumcondra Teachers’ Centre, 1990.

39.The Transition Year Programmes, Interim C.E.B., 1986, p. 7.

39a.Low Achievement at Senior Cycle, A Survey of Principals of Voluntary Secondary Schools, A report prepared by the Curriculum Awareness Action Group, Marino Institute of Education, Dublin, 1990 pp 42 ff.

40.Report of the School Guidance Committee, p. 7ff.

41.O’Connor, J., Ruddle, H. and O’Gallagher, M., Cherished Equally ? Educational and Behavioural Adjustment of Children, Limerick : Mid Western Health Board, 1988.

42.Based on information supplied by the Health Promotion Unit.

43.T. Crooks and J. McKiernan, The Challenge of Change, I.P.A., 1985.

44.See above.

45.The author was provided with a copy of Mr Williams’ report by the Health Promotion Unit.

46.Report of the Review Body on the Primary Curriculum, p. 73.

47.T. Kellaghan and P. J. Fontes, The New Primary Curriculum, Its Implementation and Effects, 1977.

48.op cit p 73.

49.op cit pp 74-75.

50.A Guide to The Junior Certificate, p. 18.

51.Information supplied by Project Director, Mid Western Health Board Project.

52.Primary School Curriculum, Teachers’ Handbook, Part 2, p. 322.

53.Jim Gleeson, Final External Evaluation Report on Action-Research Project Designed to Stimulate the Interest and Encourage the Participation of Girls in School Activities Related to the New Technologies, Department of Education, Dublin, 1989.

54.For a report on a comprehensive piece of research into teachers’ attitudes to gender issues see John Pratt’s article in Girl Friendly Schooling, edited by J. Whyte, R Deem, R. Kant and M. Cruickshank, London, 1988, pp 24-35. Pratt’s main findings included:

*a majority of teachers are broadly sympathetic to equal opportunities in school;

*nearly half of teachers appear to be unsympathetic;

*teachers of physical sciences, crafts, maths and P.E. show least sympathy;

*in stereotyped option subjects pupils are mainly taught by teachers who are unsympathetic;

*teachers showed a lower commitment to practices which positively encourage equality. The majority of teachers favour non-traditional choices but are unsure as to how to encourage this;

*a number of teachers are hostile to the idea of promoting equality of opportunity, on the grounds that they and the educational system are or should be ‘neutral’;

*many teachers recognise that pupils bring stereotyping with them into school and that teachers sometimes accept or even encourage these, even if they regard them as inappropriate.

55.Girls and Boys Come out to Play, Limerick 1991. This research is based on replies from 86 teachers of P.E. and 2,051 students from a total of 88 schools out of a possible 170 schools selected for a stratified random sample during the 1987/88 school year.

56.op cit, p. 12.

57.Programme for Action in Education, 1984-1987, A Progress Report for 1985, p. 8

58.National Co-ordinator’s Report on TENET (Ireland), July 1990, p. 32.

59.Ibid pp 32-33.

60.Ibid p. 27.

61.Programme for Action in Education, 1984-1987, A Progress Report for 1986, p. 8

62.The Development of Equal Opportunities, March 1987 - September 1988 : Co-ordinated Report, Stationery Office, Dublin, p.7.

63.See paragraph 2.11.

64.R. Malone and H. O’Brien, Female Choices in VPT Programmes, Case Studies from School Review, CDVEC Curriculum Development Unit, p. 69.

65.Ibid p. 73.

66.Report of the School Guidance Committee. The data in Tables 21-27 is taken from this report and the entire section 4.2 is heavily dependent on pp 30-36 of the report.

67.Ibid p. 29.

68.Ibid p. 50.

69.Ibid pp 50-51.

70.Ibid pp 51-53.

71.Death by a Thousand Cuts, published by the T.U.I., 1988 p. 12.

72.Draft Report made available to the author by the T.U.I.

73.Staffing, Funding and Facilities in Second Level Schools, ASTI, 1990, p. 9.

74.John Nolan and Andrew Burke, The Financing of Catholic Secondary Schools in the Free Education System (1984-89), p. 9.

75.op cit p. 7.

76.op cit p. 85.

77.A. G. Watts (ed.), Educational and Vocational Guidance Services for the 14-25 Age Group, The United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland and Greece, Brussels, 1987.

78.Transition Education for the ‘90s - The Experience of the European Community’s Action Programme, Brussels, 1988, p. 230.

79.Ibid pp 31-32.

80.Action Handbook : How to Implement Gender Equality, Brussels, November 1988.

81.Form R.S. 2.S.1.

82.Form R.S.2.S.2.

83.Information supplied by Project Director.

84.Information supplied by Project Director.

85.Death by a Thousand Cuts, T.U.I. 1988, p. 15 ff.

86.Draft T.U.I Report.

87.Staffing, Funding and Facilities in Second Level Schools, ASTI, 1990, pp 8-9.

88.Nolan and Burke, op cit p 8 ff.

89.Programme for National Recovery, Stationery Office, Dublin 1987, p. 14.

90.op cit pp 80 ff.

91.op cit pp 84-85.

92.See Programme for Economic and Social Progress Section VII, pp 75-76.

93.The data in Tables 40-47 were kindly supplied by FÁS.

94.Apprenticeship, a New Approach, A Discussion Document, FÁS 1989, pp 3-12.

95.Published by Y.E.A. 1987, p. 5.

96.Report on the Second Year of the Implementation of the Social Guarantee for Young People, Y.E.A. 1987, p. 20.

97.Vocational Preparation and Training 1984/85, Programme Information, Department of Education, 1986.

98.Positive Action Programme in Favour of Women, FÁS, 1990, p. 2.


100.op cit pp 3 ff

101.op cit pp 5 ff

102.op cit p. 8.


104.Lifelong Learning, Stationery Office, Dublin 1983, pp 67-68.

105.Nelly, P. Stromquist, Women and Illiteracy: The Interplay of Gender Subordination and Poverty, Comparative Education Review, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp 95 ff.

106.Programme for National Recovery, Stationery Office, October 1989, Paraghraph 19.

107.Decline in Adult Education Provision in Ireland published by Aontas, March 1988.

108.Steady as She Sinks, The Decline of Adult Education in Ireland, A Survey of Courses provided in Autumn 1988, Aontas, 1989.

109.For Adults Only, A Case for Adult Education in Ireland, Aontas, 1989, pp 57 ff.

110.Fran McVeigh, Account of the Womens’ Programmes Funded by the Combat Poverty Agency in 1987, Combat Poverty Agency 1988.

111.op cit, Foreword.

112.op cit p. 31.

113.Information supplied by the Agency to the author.

114.Report in the Irish Times, September 20, 1990, p. 5.

115.The INTO acknowledges as its sources for these statistics the research study Gender Inequalities in Primary School Teaching by Fontes and Kellaghan and the records of the Department of Education.

116.Michael Foley, Irish Times, November 24, 1988.

117.The Promotional Expectations and Achievements of Teachers, Report of ASTI Equality Survey - Women Teachers and Promotion, 1991, pp 1 ff.

118.Unpublished at time of writing: information supplied by TUI Education Officer.

119.The Promotional Expectations and Achievements of Teachers, 1990, pp 10 ff

120.OECD Review, Ireland, p. 109

121Women Academics in Ireland, Report of Higher Education Authority’s Committee on the Position of Women Academics in Third Level Education in Ireland, Dublin 1987.

122.op cit p. 15.

123.op cit pp 17-28.

124.First Year Report on the Action Programme, p. 9.

125.op cit pp 23 ff.

126.op cit pp 25-26.