At a recent conference entitled ‘Reforming Learning: Driving Success (NUI, Galway – December 2014), speakers shared their thoughts on the readiness of post-primary students for entry into Third Level Education academic institutions. Various concerns were raised including education, learning and social skills that students need to have in order ‘to survive’ the demands and pressures from the academic institution, the courses / subjects being taught and their fellow student peers. Blame was not actually being accounted, but the questions were asked, ‘Who needs to be responsible / accountable? What needs to be done?

Parents, guardians, schools and homes are all responsible and are all accountable. Dr Mary Fleming who chaired part of the conference said, ‘We need a complete rethink of how we teach students in Post-Primary to allow them move forward to university level with greater ease’. We all need to play our part in helping the young people of our future to make the transition as fast and as smooth as possible. We need to break their bad habits that may have been formed pre-third level. Universities claim that students are using the first year of college to learn how to learn, how to act like adults and how to ‘fend’ for themselves. There are no concerned people in university like there are in Post-Primary. So, as teachers and parents of Post-Primary students, consider the following pro-active ideas:


  • Involve them in challenging home chores, home maintenance, home upkeep
  • Show them how to buy food, prepare food and cook food
  • Teach them how to manage, budget and save money


  • Instill good communication, interpersonal and social skills
  • Prepare them better for Third Level education as they leave Post-Primary, so that they know the difference between both (at least make them aware)
  • Give them guidance on career and course choices

We as parents and teachers need to make our interventions more personal and more individual for each young person that we are responsible for rearing and teaching.