The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has expressed concern that the reform of the Junior Certificate will impact negatively on those schools located in communities worst hit by the recession. The union has suggested that changes may be driven by a budgetary rather than educational rationale.
Speaking this afternoon, TUI General Secretary John MacGabhann said:
“We are disappointed that teachers as practitioners were not specifically consulted with on these proposals. This is poor practice in the formulation of educational policy.
TUI accepts the need to constantly improve the educational experience for Junior Cycle students. However, any changes introduced must maintain the credibility and integrity of the assessment to ensure public confidence. We would have a concern that the effective transformation of the Junior Certificate from a high stakes examination to an internal school assessment process may reduce public confidence.
Schools have had their resources routinely asset-stripped by successive governments and there is a genuine fear that fee paying schools and those schools based in affluent communities where fundraising is an established practice will have a distinct advantage over those schools in areas ravaged by socioeconomic disadvantage where too many students are often without basics such as textbooks.
In respect of any new assessment methods, TUI’s long-held position is that time, external moderation, inservice training and payment where appropriate must be provided.
Clearly, there is a serious concern about increased workload for teachers as a result of these proposed changes. This must be looked at in a context where schools have had staffing allocations slashed and have suffered a litany of other cutbacks to vital programmes.
Regrettably, it seems that key elements of this initiative may be driven by a budgetary rather than educational rationale.”