Sir, – Sir Ken Robinson’s point that “the problem with that preoccupation of a certain style of education is that it marginalises a great many of the other abilities and talents that kids have, and that they’ll need now and in the future” is welcome and timely (Carl O’Brien, “Parents warned of obsession with sending children to university”, News, February 23rd).

From what we see every day an increasing number of people feel pressurised to do a masters to succeed and get on the “employment ladder”. The hands-on work required to encourage human contact is in danger of being misunderstood and devalued at many levels when research is being carried out to plan services, not just to people who are marginalised. This is having a profound effect on the quality of compassionate care that is so essential to the quality of life of so many in need of care and assistance and those struggling to provide it.

In the recent past I had the opportunity to meet a number of diverse groups, from primary school students, graduates and people going through the “University of Life”! The challenging questions posed and the energy and enthusiasm of the young children I met in a small, rural primary school in my home county of Tipperary were breathtaking. I left saying to their wonderful young teacher, “I wish our politicians, academics and planners of services would ask the same questions and have the same level of energy and enthusiasm”. – Yours, etc,


Director of Services,

Alice Leahy Trust,

Bride Road,

Dublin 8.