25th January 2013 - IPPN convenes industry group to link primary education and enterprise

On the second day of its annual conference, ‘The Future is Now’, the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) is convening a group of top industry and academic leaders to bring forward recommendations for improving the primary school curriculum to meet future skills needs.

IPPN is bringing together over 20 organisations, including IBM, Ely Lilly, Maxol, DCU and UL, for a workshop to discuss industry needs, particularly IT and leadership skills.

The workshop, which builds on a similar exercise conducted at last year’s conference, will generate recommendations for Government aimed at bridging the gap between primary education and enterprise.

Seán Cottrell, IPPN Director, said the workshop’s focus on IT and leadership tackles two key development areas which will be critical success factors in our economic recovery.

IPPN has called for multi-annual budget for technology in primary school classrooms, an integrated technology-supported curriculum, and adequate professional development support for teachers in delivering digital pedagogy.

‘Our future will be in the knowledge economy, enabled by technology. We need to invest in areas that will have a longer-term dividend,’ said Mr Cottrell.

The skills and aptitudes children learn in the primary curriculum are directly linked to the kind of workers required by the employer community, according to primary school leaders.

‘Employers and educators agree that critical thinking, analysing, listening, enquiring, hypothesising, team-work and problem-solving are life and workplace skills. It is critical that they start to be developed in primary schools, and our workshop seeks to draw the education and enterprise communities closer together,’ said Mr Cottrell.

IPPN has urged the Government to relieve school principals of administrative work so that they can focus on enabling their leadership role.

‘Allowing principals to focus on school leadership, rather than burdening them with endless paperwork and administrative tasks, would dramatically improve education outcomes in our primary school classrooms,’ said Mr Cottrell.

The conference is attended by more than 1,000 primary school leaders in Citywest Convention Centre, Dublin.

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