Write a 7 pages paper on the history of irish education part b. Through years of suppression and political discrimination, politics, in the end, and the shear determination of the Irish to educate their children evolved through concession and necessity into the creation of the National School System–a system destined to provide the basis for public education. Historical Background Originally set up by sects other than the majority Roman Catholics, small schools evolved in the early nineteenth century to educate the poor, manned by teachers most often untrained. Administration of the schools was quickly taken over by the Protestant Church of Ireland as both a religious and political move to Anglicise young Irish students. The Roman Catholic Church, while the majority, and Presbyterians felt pressured by these circumstances and feared a good deal of proselytising was ongoing within in schools. Both the Roman Catholic Church, gaining influential ground in the early nineteenth century after years of social, political and religious suppression, and Presbyterians, viewed as a strong Scottish influence to the Irish brand of Protestantism, had sought as a counter educational measure state support for schools of their own religious tradition. With the Irish Church most influential politically, it was charged that in the small schools of the time children of other denominations were being proselytised by Church of Ireland teachers as part of the educational curriculum. As early as 1812, education commissioners had called for better supervision of proselytizing in schools attended by various denominations, and by 1827 pressure was mounting for the state to cease channeling state aid through ‘voluntary agencies’(Hyland, Milne, 1987, p. 98) most often connected with particular religious groups. The Stanley Letter In October 1831, E.G. Stanley, then Chief Secretary of Ireland, wrote a letter to the Duke of Leinster , a liberal Protestant (Coolahan, 1981, p. 13) outlining plans for proposed national schools guided and overseen by a new sectarian educational board. The letter, now known as the ‘Stanley Letter’, addressed how the government would distribute aid to the board and outlined the basis upon which the board would support the schools. As suggested by Hyland and Milne (1987), the letter is generally accepted as the legal basis for national schools in Ireland, forwarding the recommendation of the Commissioners of 1812 that would effectively ‘banished [banish] even the suspicion of proselytism…admitting children of all religious persuasions…[and] not interfere with the particular tenets of any’ (Stanley, 1831 in Hyland et al, p. 99). As suggested in the letter (Stanley, 1831 in Hyland et al, p. 99-103) the system was set up as multi-denominational, with the schools governed by a member board consisting of two Roman Catholics, two from the Church of Ireland, and two Presbyterians. The multi-denominational concept at the beginning stages was met with resistance and suspicion, particularly by the Catholics and Presbyterians. (Coolahan, 1981) To overcome suspicion and due to Ireland’s history of past religious strife, there were imposed strict limits on the educational component of the proposal.


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