Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills

Leaving Certificate Curriculum Reform: Discussion

4:00 pm

Photo of Robbie GallagherRobbie Gallagher (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the delegates and thank them all for their contributions. We are all agreed that the leaving certificate needs reform. If we learned anything from this afternoon's contributions, it is the scale of the task involved. Ms Ní Chonghaile mentioned the stress of the examination itself, as did others. In many cases, people have nightmares when they think about their examinations and what happened or did not happen.

A few questions spring to mind. People talk about the timescale and the delay in implementing change. In light of the journey we have travelled with junior certificate reform, is there anything we have learned that we could implement to fast-track the process of leaving certificate reform? I realise that is a very broad subject.

Reference was made to how fast of a world we move in. I acknowledge that it is a major undertaking to reform the leaving certificate programme, that there are so many stakeholders involved and that it takes time but, as was outlined, time is important. We are living in a fast-changing world and we need to keep that in mind as we proceed.

When we talk about mental well-being, we talk about physical well-being and skills for life. Dr. Katriona O'Sullivan alluded to changing the wheel of a car, or whatever the case may be. Is it possible to have a subject that encapsulates all this? It would be beneficial for every student, regardless of where he or she ends up. It is not just about shaping people for the workplace, although that is very important; if we do not end up at the end of process with a well-rounded individual, we will have more problems on our hands. Is it possible to have a subject that encapsulates all that? What would the timeframe be for getting that subject on the curriculum? Nowadays, young people — we are blessed with a few in the audience this afternoon – are under more pressure than ever before. We have to be cognisant of that.

We talked about the challenges that exist and broadband. No later than yesterday, I received an email from a school principal in Monaghan stating he cannot get fibre broadband, which is causing a serious problem for himself, the teaching staff and the pupils in the school. Mr. Geoff Browne talked about the issue of broadband in schools. Also arising is the significant issue of broadband at home.

The NCCA comprises approximately 25 members. Is the size of the body an impediment to change? Is the group too large to develop curriculums in the future?


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.