The Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has cited cost as a major factor for abolishing independent State assessment at Junior Cert level.

Answering questions from Fianna Fáil’s Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue in the Dáil, the Minister clearly indicated that cost was a basis for his decision to go against the advice he received, and remove the State entirely from junior cycle exams.

“This raises alarm bells about the real reason for abolishing all independent assessment at junior cert level. It is crucial that Junior Cert reform is driven by improving outcomes for students, and not by cost,” said Deputy McConalogue.

“The process so far has been ham-fisted. It’s been crippled by a lack of consultation and a lack of proper consideration of the impact on schools, teachers and students. The Minister ignored the advice of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, which sought for a mix of school-based and State-based assessment.

This would have meant that 60% of assessment was still independent and carried out by the State Examination Commission.

“I am concerned by these latest indications that the real motivation behind the Minister’s approach may have been the Government’s financial bottom line, rather than achieving a reformed Junior Cert that best serves the interests of students and our education system.”