The 24th January 2021 marks the 3rd International Day of Education a day to celebrate the importance of education for peace and development worldwide. This year’s theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’ focuses on a collaborative approach and international solidarity to place education and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery. This day gives us the opportunity to reflect on education and the work done in the area.
The Religious Sisters of Charity have long been involved in education since 1830 when Gardiner Street Primary School was founded by Mary Aikenhead. The School has served Dublin’s inner city for the past 190 years and continues to be a vibrant educational establishment to this day.
In 2019 the Trusteeship of the school was transferred to the Jesuit Education Trust. The occasion was made special by a wonderful celebration, hosted by the pupils, in the school hall and playground. The founding story was enacted by the pupils and the legacy of Mary Aikenhead was clearly evident in the historic displays around the hall. A fitting reminder that her spirit will continue to inspire the School Community as it moves forward on its journey in education.
As the Coronavirus has affected communities around the globe over the past year and Ireland went into lockdown. Society rapidly adapted to the restrictions put in place by the government - changing the way of living, working and learning.
Schools and education institutions also were affected with closures put in place by the Department of Education and Skills. Remote learning became the norm as teachers quickly updated their IT skills in order to respond to the need the creativity of our schools never ceased to inspire us.
During the closures graduations were celebrated virtually at both primary and post-primary level. Boards of Management continued their role of governance through regular Zoom meetings. In one of our Primary schools an extension was completed enabling the pupils to move into it in December and in another the design of a proposed extension was completed.
In relation to our DEIS Schools (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), in the spirit of Mary Aikenhead, we wish to acknowledge the amazing work carried out by the schools, at both primary and secondary level, in organising and facilitating the delivery of school meals to families who were seriously impacted by the closure of the schools.