Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Galway West Cllr. Mary Hoade has expressed outrage over the huge uncertainty about the roll out of Junior Cert reforms, brought about by the Education Minister’s mishandling of the changes to the curriculum and assessment.
Schools across Galway have been holding open days and it is becoming clear that many teachers are unsure about the element of continuous assessment for this new Junior Cert curriculum and are confused about how the new short courses will be implemented.
Cllr. Hoade explained, “We all accept that reform to the Junior Cert is essential and, in fact, the reforms were begun under the last Fianna Fáil government. However the manner in which Minister Jan O’Sullivan has pushed through these changes has left teachers, parents and students without any certainty or understanding of what the new Junior Cert curriculum and assessment will entail.
“Since the new school year began I have consistently been receiving complaints from parents, and even from teachers, that they do not know what the new junior cert involves. Parents and teachers are especially perplexed at how the new short courses will work and what their content will be.
“By implementing these reforms before putting in place necessary training for teachers, information sessions with parents and students and without allowing any lead-in period before the reforms took effect, Minister O’Sullivan has shown herself to be an irresponsible custodian of education, more interested in being able to make announcements about reforms, rather than guiding the actual implementation in a dependable, consistent fashion.
“The Minister has sought to dismiss teachers, parents and students’ concerns by bulldozing through these measures. She refused to listen to teachers and their representatives, who recommended a delay to some of the proposals so that adequate training and guidance could be rolled out, and now we are left with a situation whereby teachers and students are unclear about what is expected of them.
“It appears that as with other attempted reforms, Minister O’Sullivan wants to fast-track reforms for the sake of appearing active on the issue, but without thinking about the consequences for teachers, parents and students. Her approach to policy is to make headline reforms which attract media attention but do not follow through to make meaningful on-the-ground improvements in children’s education”.