Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Brendan Smith has urged the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to commit to providing all the resources necessary for the smooth implementation of reform of the Junior Certificate.
Deputy Smith has welcomed moves to overhaul the Junior Certificate but has raised concerns about possible disruption across the secondary system unless schools are fully supported by the State in implementing the changes.
Deputy Smith said: “Fianna Fáil fully supports moves to reform and modernise the system of State assessment at Junior Cert level. Former Minister Batt O’Keeffe first raised the issue in June 2009 during a speech to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. He spoke about the negative effects of rote learning and the need to move towards a system that included more continuous assessment and personal development.
“Fianna Fáil in Government launched a public consultation process on reform of the Junior Cert in April 2010, with a view to introducing new methods of assessment to keep our students engaged in the learning process and provide them with the best possible skill-set as they enter the next phase of their lives. I am pleased that the NCCA has now submitted a full report to the Minister and I look forward to examining the proposals in detail.
“However, it is vital that the Minister takes this opportunity to consult with all the stake-holders involved to ensure the smoothest possible transition to a new Junior Certificate system. We cannot have a situation where teachers are excessively burdened with new responsibilities as a result of these changes. The Government must provide schools with necessary resources to make these reforms workable for all involved.”