When I was growing up in Dublin and went to Synge Street School, the aspirations of our peer group was to maybe go on to secondary school, but a whole culture existed that to pass the “Primary Certificate” exam was to be the ultimate goal in our educational attainment.
Working class kids in the 50s were living in relative poverty, and were most likely a sibling with as many as 10, 12, 15 brothers and sisters. I knew one family with 21 children.
There were huge pressures to get the kids off to work as quickly as possible so that their wages would go some way to supplement the poor wages of the breadwinner, usually the father.
Thankfully all that has changed and more and more people are recognising that education can be a lifelong learning experience. That is why I applaud people who left school early and take up courses such as those offered under the FETAC model.
It is a very heartening sight to see the joy in the faces of these achievers when they receive their awards.
Let’s all give the (mainly) women from in and around Dolphin House a huge round of applause for their fantastic achievements.