By Jason Michael
Granted, I only caught the second half of TV3’s documentary Ireland What Next? This had been sold as a discussion on the scandal of the class divide in Irish education, and at best managed only to pay lip service to this serious problem. Credit has to be given that at least the broadcaster did raise the issue and engaged with some of the key players in working class education. Ireland is a state where the overwhelming majority of the middle class access third level education, while in working class areas and in the most socially deprived areas the percentage of young people continuing to third level falls into the low single digits.
The assumption presented in the programme was that inequality in education has a direct correlation to wealth inequality, and this is true, but it is certainly not the full truth. This correlation is a dependent relationship which makes it equally true to say that wealth inequality creates inequality in education. Another central issue that was not touched upon was the class prejudice that plagues this society. Educated working class people face discrimination in employment because of their addresses on résumés and their accents at interview.