Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne TD, has said that the Government needs to reinstate history as a core subject in the Junior Cycle immediately.

Deputy Byrne was commenting as a PQ response from the Minister for Education confirmed that the review commissioned by the Department on the optional nature of history has been finalised by the NCCA and is with the Department for consideration.

He said, “At the end of the day the decision on whether or not to reinstate history as a core subject lies with the Government, nobody else. Fianna Fáil will not accept anything less than the restoration of the subject as a core component of the curriculum.

“If history is optional for the Junior Cycle there will be fewer and fewer students taking it for the Leaving Certificate and we will see its rapid decline. There is a significant body of research which shows that the role of history education, in developing a sound knowledge of the history of one’s own country and of the wider world, can contribute to progressive democratic citizenship.

“Now more than ever we must teach students the skills of research, of how to validate sources and identify fact from fiction. In the era of ‘fake news’ and right-wing rhetoric it’s important for our young people to be able to discern what is real and what isn’t. The importance of teaching students to recognise bias cannot be underestimated. This should be a key strand of the Junior Cert curriculum.

“How will we learn from the past if we don’t even study it? Common sense must prevail and the Government must commit to reinstating history as a core subject in any event”, he concluded.