Towards a Better Future gives a comprehensive overview and analysis of Irish education, covering contemporary early childhood, primary and second level.
The IPPN and NAPD considered that the time was ripe for a thorough study with the following terms of reference:
- To undertake a research-informed analysis of the Irish education system at the present time, in order to identify what are the main strengths, the main shortcomings, the main opportunities for development
- To include within the scope of the analysis early childhood education, primary education and post-primary education
- In relation to strengths, to highlight what is educationally distinctive, referring as appropriate to concrete instances and to relevant research, in Ireland and internationally
- In relation to shortcomings, to illuminate the factors that give rise to these, again referring as appropriate to experience and research, both Irish and international
- In relation to opportunities for development, to identify what factors currently impede the utilisation of such opportunities and to comment on what kinds of approaches might prove promising in tackling impediments
IPPN and NAPD invited a group of educational researchers to undertake this work: Professor John Coolahan, Professor Sheelagh Drudy, Dr. Pádraig Hogan, Professor Áine Hyland and Dr. Séamus McGuinness. The book was jointly published by the two organisations.
In the course of its research the group has consulted with various personnel, but has conducted its work independently of the IPPN and NAPD. What was sought was an objective, evidence-based appraisal of the recent past and current issues in Irish schooling, with a view to the review leading to a better future. We believe that a careful reading of the text will be of value to all stakeholders and those interested in the good of Irish education. The review provides a conspectus for policy-makers, practitioners and participants of the comprehensive range of issues and concerns relevant to the achievement of the reform programme.