Education is a vital issue for many people, and the question of whether to invest in it has become a political football.
In the run-up to the election, some people argue that the current system of universal primary education has failed and that we need to change it.
Others believe that universal primary is a good idea, as it will enable all children to go to a quality public school.
One of the most important aspects of the debate is the impact on students’ health.
While it is widely recognised that primary education improves mental health, the impact of primary education on the health of children is controversial.
A study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics last year by researchers at the University of Southampton and the University College London, found that those who attended a public primary school were five times more likely to have an increased risk of developing obesity.
“There is a real concern that primary school attendance could actually be having a negative impact on the mental health of the children,” said Dr Rachel Liddell-Kaufman, a researcher at the Department of Psychology at Southampton University.
There are several studies, however, that show that students who attend a primary school do not appear to suffer the same problems as those who do not attend.
“It’s really not clear how this affects students’ outcomes and wellbeing,” she said.
However, there are still some who believe that a quality education is vital to the health and well-being of young people.
For example, Dr Mark Williams from the Institute of Education and Training at Newcastle University, said that students attending a quality primary school are much less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and anxiety-related conditions.
The evidence is clear, he said.
“If you are at a primary level, the mental wellbeing of children can be significantly improved by attending a good primary school.”
The key issue is that there are so many schools in the country that there is little information about the quality of the schools, so there is a lack of accurate data.
It is also difficult to compare primary schools to a wider range of schools.
For example in the Northern Territory, there is no data about the level of quality of schools across the state, so it is difficult to make a comparison.
The quality of primary schools can also vary.
For example, in the Eastern Cape, some schools have a very low average score compared to other regions.
Another issue is the way in which students are taught.
Many primary schools have been designed for young children, so that the children attend at their own pace and the school is run in a way that maximises learning.
This means that it is hard to compare schools to one another.
Dr Liddells-Kauer said that there were many schools where there were no teachers in primary school.
She said that in this case, the students do not have teachers to guide them.
“The schools need to be run in such a way as to maximise learning and maximise the chances of a child’s development,” she explained.
“This is particularly the case with schools for young people where the principal has to be a teacher themselves.
But the quality and the learning outcomes are so different in primary schools that it can be difficult to know which schools are best for students.”
What do you think about primary schools?
Are they better than other schools?
Share your views in the comments section below.
This article first appeared on RTE.