A EAGARTHÓIR – It is annoying to see the current attack by politicians on the Junior Cert syllabus constantly being referred to as a ‘reform.’ It is nothing of the sort.
I hope the new Dáil will commit to suspend the brainless forcing through of course work into the Junior Cert curriculum, whether marked by the classroom teacher or externally. Course work (written material supposedly done by the pupil outside the exam and possibly outside the school) will not reduce stress: the stress comes from the competition for limited college places, not from the exam as such.
Our Transition Year Programme already provides a perfect opportunity to give pupils experience in compiling a portfolio of personal work in a less-stressful situation. Giving pupils unsupervised work and then marking it to exam standards that will impact for a lifetime ought to be so obviously open to failure of the system that it is astonishing that it is even being contemplated.
Teachers (and parents) elsewhere are under intolerable pressure to ‘help’ the candidate submit work gaining high marks. Not for the pupil's benefit, but so that the school can maintain its position in the league table.
Teachers or Unions that try to point this out are demonised. But no, no: ‘It has failed in every other country, so we'll do it here (!).’
Is mise, le meas,
M Ó Fearghail, BSc (hons), DipEd,