Posted tagged ‘June’

A Saturday in June

June 7, 2009

We’re now well into June, so it goes without saying that the weather in Ireland (after a really hot and sunny interlude) has turned really nasty. Saturday was the coldest, wettest and windiest day since – well, since last summer I guess. It was seriously unpleasant. The first really major downpour came very suddenly, just as I was walking some 300 yards from my car to the studios of Newstalk radio. I was a guest on their early morning news show, in which I participated while totally drenched. One of the topics that excited most interest was the mistake made by an examinations superintendent in a school if Drogheda, who handed out the wrong Leaving Certificate paper to students and thereby pushed the entire national examination system into turmoil. I confess that I really feel for the man. We also got to talk to a British MP on the subject of the survival (or not) of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and with the new Lord Mayor of Belfast, who is actually a woman – which in Belfast is a significant development.

Drenched all over again on the way back to the car, and so I made my way back to my office to work on two papers I am delivering at two conferences next week, one in Bath in the UK and one in Galway. Although the topics are different, what I am trying to communicate in both of them is that we must entertain the idea that our inherited understanding of education and scholarship will need to change dramatically as society’s needs are also changing.

My other major commitment on Saturday was the handing out of awards at DCU’s Intergenerational Learning Project. This involves DCU staff and students working with older and retired people  in two learning modules, Introduction to Computers, and Introduction to Science. It is part of our commitment to the idea of DCU as an inclusive place that serves the needs of the whole community, and we have been fortunate to receive funding for this from the Government through the Department of  Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The older learners had all the enthusiasm and energy of young students and had clearly enjoyed and benefited from the programme. They will support the growing realisation (or what I hope is the growing realisation) that older and retired people are not passive recipients of care and welfare, but active contributors to national development and prosperity. It is hard not to feel optimistic in such company.

The rain continued all day, and is still pouring down as I write in the early hours. But it was a good day.