Description:Implementation of proposals to reform the Junior Certificate are under way. The key element of the proposals is a revised junior certificate programme at Level 3 of the National Qualifications Framework (as at present), but with a cap on the number of subjects which can be taken for assessment for qualification purposes. The objective is to make time and space for active learning and the development of key skills, to place the focus on the process of learning rather than on the qualification/examination. All students will be required to cover 24 statements of essential learning such as language, mathematical concepts, critical thinking and ICT.
Implication(s):This has been a long-standing policy objective of Ibec. The Junior Certificate's current over-crowded, rigid and subject-based curriculum dominates secondary school organisation and teaching practice. This represents a missed opportunity to inculcate the types of higher order thinking skills that business requires. The junior cycle education experience should build on what children have learned at primary school and provide opportunities to develop all domains of students’ learning. This should also include opportunities for less academically-orientated students to experience success.
Society and business need an education system that produces individuals who are adaptable, can think for themselves and have an appetite to learn. The Junior Certificate, which is assessment and output focused, fails to produce these skills which are now critical for the knowledge economy. The Junior Certificate curriculum fosters negative attitudes towards particular subjects and discourages a significant minority of students from continuing their education. Failure to radically reform the exam is, therefore, a failure to recognise the huge potential that young students can achieve during their early years at second level. What business wants is to equip individuals with the skills necessary to maximise their prospects of having fulfilling and rewarding careers. This will be a major factor in determining their quality of life.
Current Position:The subject reforms began on a phased basis in 2014 but met opposition from the teaching unions. In May 2015, a Joint Statement on Principles and Implementation which outlines a way forward for Junior Cycle Reform was agreed by the Department of Education and Skills and the leadership of both teacher unions. This will be put to a members' ballot in September 2015.
- Junior_Cycle_submission.pdf - 431 Kbytes
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Last Updated: 05/29/2015