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History and the Junior Cert June 18, 2013

Posted by doctorfive in Uncategorized.
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Contribution from Catriona Crowe at a refreshing if presumably futile Oireachtas hearing last Wednesday. She makes good points on what should be history’s standing to other subjects and the not implausible future of popular understanding originating in the lens of Neil Jordan.

“History shouldn’t be a choice but an opportunity”

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1. Jolly Red Giant - June 18, 2013

Let’s be clear – this move by Quinnis designed to facilitate the privatisation of the education system. Quinn wants to introduce ‘short’ courses in a variety of subjects. These ‘short’ courses are to facilitate private companies in developing ‘short’ courses and selling them to schools – offering a ready made ‘short’ course and the staff to run it. How many schools would have access to a qualified Chinese teacher to teach Chinese to junior cert students (an absolutely daft idea as Chinese is the most difficult language for Englhs speakers to learn and cannot be learnt in any way without immersion in the actual language by going to China). The moves by Quinn will lead to Principals (who will be given more control over their budgets) hiring private companies to run these ‘short’ courses (who will pay low wages) and saving on a teacher’s salary – leading to job losses in Education.

Specifically – on history – ask any history teacher and they will tell you that there are problems with the junior cert history syllabus – it is way too long – it doesn’t engage the students etc. However, the solution is not to make history optional. In my school this year – out of 130 students who sat history at junior cert only 13 are taking it as a leaving cert subject. Many schools have already dropped history as an option at leaving cert level. If history is made optional then the numbers dropping history at junior cert level will be huge (as they will hear all the stories from their siblings and peers about how much work is in it and how much you have to ‘learn’). As a consequence it would not be surprising if in five years time the only schools that will offer history at leaving cert level will be private schools where the ruling elites send their kids (knowing the importance of understanding historical developments to better exploit future generations).

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doctorfive - June 18, 2013

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