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Behind the Scenes: Heritage and Education – Agricultural education

Throughout Heritage Week we have been highlighting aspects from our collections relating to this year’s theme of ‘Heritage and Education: Learning from our Heritage’.  We have looked at music education, the rebel teacher, apprenticeships, school architecture, and National School teachers. Not forgetting our current Document of the Month which focuses on the provision of evening school for working adults.

Today’s feature are extracts from the minutes from the Council of Agriculture, part of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland.  It might seem a little unusual for this department to have played a key role in education but our holdings of the Department of Agriculture include a wide range of material for the first two decades of the 20th century. The Department began its work in 1900 and it has played a key role in the economic and social life of Ireland since then.

The extracts of minutes links to our feature yesterday and the statistical argument from the Royal College of Science for investment in more agricultural education.  The meeting of March 1903 records the proposal to increase ‘the number of Agricultural Schools or Educational Farms, with a view to training in scientific agriculture the young men and women of the farming classes’. The additional extract notes the encouragement of the basket-making and osier growing industries and the need to nurture teacher training in these fields in order to ensure the success of the industry in Ireland.

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