The Education System and Social Inequality in Ireland Essay by nikki77

The Education System and Social Inequality in Ireland
A discussion of the connections between the education system and social inequality in contemporary Ireland.
# 104062 | 1,845 words | 6 sources | APA | 2005 | IE

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This paper examines the widely accepted idea that the Irish education system leads to social inequality. It maintains that it is possible to argue the case that social inequality in Ireland influences and shapes its education system. It holds that, in general, most western education systems are based upon societal values and customs. The paper looks specifically at secondary-level education. Using Goldthorpe's model of class categorization to differentiate between the various social classes, the paper concentrates on the working-class and the middle-class categories. The paper also deals with the issue of equality of access to secondary and higher education systems, with regards to location, curriculum, social behavior and financial matters. It attempts to determine how and why these factors create social inequality in contemporary Ireland. The paper concludes that, due to social and cultural barriers, the working classes continue to be denied access to a full and healthy educational career.

From the Paper:

"If we look at the report published by the Department of Education and Science (1998, p.27) concerning educational performance and family background, we see that while over 50% of those in the "Higher Professional" family background leave secondary school with over five honours in the Leaving Certificate, only 4.1% of children whose parents are unskilled manual workers will manage to achieve the same success (Tovey and Share, 2000.) That said, the percentage of children whose parents belong to the "semi/unskilled manual" occupational group attending vocational schools is far higher than that of children from "upper non-manual" family backgrounds (Breen, 1984), according to a survey carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Breen, R (1984) Education and the Labour Market: Work and Unemployment Among Recent Cohorts of Irish School Leavers, Dublin: The Economic and Social Research Institute.
  • Breen, R., and C. Whelan (1996) Social Mobility and Social Class in Ireland, Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.
  • Hill, D., and M. Cole (2001) Schooling and Equality: Fact, Concept and Policy, Dublin, Routledge.
  • Lynch, K. (1999) Equality in Education. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.
  • Mulcahy, D.G. (Ed) (1989) Irish Educational Policy: Process & Substance, Dublin, Ireland: Institute of Public Administration.

Cite this Essay:

APA Format

The Education System and Social Inequality in Ireland (2008, June 01) Retrieved August 18, 2019, from

MLA Format

"The Education System and Social Inequality in Ireland" 01 June 2008. Web. 18 August. 2019. <>