Okay, let’s get one thing straight.
The greatest single idea that mankind has ever – and I mean ever – come up with is The Theory of Evolution.
It is the greatest idea in the history of the universe, and even comes ahead of the idea of the origin of the universe itself. And I say this as a physics graduate.
It’s not on the Junior Cert Science syllabus.
see for yourself
Now I do believe there is a general outcry that not enough students are taking science subjects at Leaving Cert level, and indeed this revised syllabus was designed partly to address this.
Indeed the ‘Introduction and Rationale’ section of the syllabus states:
“Arising out of their experiences in the junior cycle, it is hoped that many students will be encouraged to study one of the subjects in the senior cycle, thus preparing themselves for further study or work in this area”.
So why would you leave out the most incredible, stupendous, unbelievable (almost!), bizarre, wonderful, horrible, exciting, humbling, uplifting, emotional and awe-inspiring idea that the students could ever possible come across in thier lives, never mind in their school experience?
And here’s the kick.
Every so often the media here grab hold of the fact that the U.S. education system is having difficultity keeping evolution in their syllabus, and we think to ourselves “oh those silly yanks”.
Meanwhile we remain in ignorant bliss that we never had it on our syllabus in the first place.
Of course, the percentage of the school-going public that take Biology at leaving cert level do come across this, but for the rest of us there is nothing.
At least not in their science education.
Interestingly, while I don’t see a mention of it in the Junior Cert Religion syllabus (now there’s another missed opportunity! Imagine being able to make religion interesting?), it does make an appearance in the Leaving Cert Religion syllabus (check it out here – it’s first mentioned on page 103 of 110 in the pdf document).
Here’s part of what it says:
“Outline Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and highlight the major areas of conflict with religion”
Now there’s one to get your teeth into.
This section also delves into the origins of the universe, along with concepts like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. I reckon there’ll be some serious nervous religion teachers going in to class that day.
The fact that there’s nothing about The Big Bang or Origin of the Universe in the Junior Cert or Leaving Cert physics syllabus is for another day . . .