Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue has criticised Minister Jan O’Sullivan for rolling out Junior Cycle teacher training courses, despite mass non-cooperation from teachers unions. English curriculum courses have been held but only 16 teachers have attended.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “The Minister’s insistence in rolling out these training courses is not only nonsensical, it is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. 99% of teachers are refusing to attend these courses but the Minister is continuing to spend money on venues and trainers. Instead of pressing ahead in this bullish manner, Minister O’Sullivan should sit down with teachers and aim to secure agreement on a way forward.
“The Government’s decision to proceed with planned Junior Cert reforms without agreement has only served to worsen relations between teachers and the Department and has led to a situation whereby teachers have ruled out further strike action but no longer want to participate in negotiations. This stalemate is almost unprecedented and the Minister seems loath to make any moves to bring about a meaningful resolution.
“Teachers have raised genuine concerns about the practical implementation of the Junior Cert reforms but Minister O’Sullivan has continued to railroad through the new curriculum, without the support of the teaching unions. The fact that teachers are unwilling to attend the training courses is evidence in itself of the level of their dissatisfaction with the way these measures are being introduced.
“The manner in which the Minister and her predecessor have tried to ram through these reforms has compounded the current difficulties with their implementation. It’s impossible to engage in a reform of this magnitude without ensuring the key stakeholders are on board. Fianna Fáil has always recognised the need for reform of the Junior Cert; however it cannot be rushed through in a bullish manner without the support of educators and parents.
“The Minister should sit-down and re-engage with teachers rather than pursuing this stubborn and utterly pointless approach of running training courses with no attendees”.