A new report on standards of teaching and learning in schools has found significant weaknesses in the teaching of Irish, as well as some concerns around mathematics.
However the report, from the Department of Education's Chief Inspector, finds that overall standards in primary and post-primary schools are good.
It found that parents in particular report very high levels of satisfaction.
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn called the report an honest one and said it shows a system that is "screaming for reform".
The report has found what it calls "particular challenges" in the teaching of Irish.
It found one quarter of lessons inspected to be unsatisfactory and blamed the standard of Irish held by some teachers as part of the cause.
At post-primary level it found the quality of students' learning problematic in one third of classes inspected.
Here, also it found deficiencies in the Irish language skills of some teachers.
The report also found problems with the teaching of maths, but says the rollout of the new Project Maths syllabus is beginning to address these concerns.
Overall the report has found high standards and high levels of satisfaction across many areas.
At primary level, for instance, 97% of parents felt the teaching was good and that their child was doing well.
Department inspectors found 86% of primary lessons inspected to be of satisfactory or higher standard.