I read a really interesting opinion piece in the Irish Independent during the week that suggested students are under too much pressure nowadays. Frankly, it repeated many of the commonly known facts about students attending “grinds” or extra tuition classes of one form or another. The author, Sinead Moriarty, suggests that up to 60% of Leaving Cert (final year) students in Ireland are attending these classes. More worryingly, she also states that

more than 50pc of Irish Junior Cert students, aged 15 or 16, are taking private grinds costing about €40 per hour.”

One of my greatest concerns as an educator is that we’re beginning to lose sight of the essential mission of education i.e. to educate young men and women to become active, healthy, reflective, and confident participants in society now and into the future.

The question I’d like to explore a little more is why have we as a society allowed our education system to be reduced to this kind of intolerable situation? Surely it is in students’ best interests to have a school/life balance that is in sync with their developmental needs? If you or I as an adult were asked to work an additional 2-3 hours twice, maybe three times a week on top of our normal schedule it wouldn’t take us long to tell the boss where to go. This is something I will return to on another occasion, but for now, I’d recommend that you read the Sinead Moriarty article on student pressure via Independent.ie and make up your own mind about the situation.