Thursday, 28 February 2019
Department of Education and Skills
Junior Cycle Reform
88. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will include other subjects such as geography in the context of the review being carried out on the decision to remove history as a core subject in the junior cycle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10081/19]
One of the key aims of Junior Cycle Reform was to move from a large number of subjects with heavy curricula examined in a traditional memory based way. After a very detailed consultation process the NCCA recommended a new approach:
- limited compulsory subjects around basic literacy and numeracy
- 24 statements of learning
It is important to say that the 24 statements of learning include important elements which cultivate a historical perspective.
The new Junior Cycle Programme has also greatly enlivened subjects with a new emphasis on projects and self directed learning. This new approach is particularly evidence in history which will encourage take up of this lively and attractive subject.
The new approach gives students more choice and options which will be very valuable in their personal development. There will be 21 subjects and numerous short courses when all subjects are rolled out.
When it comes to compulsion it should be said that history and geogrpahy prior to the introduction of the Framework for Junior Cycle were only a core subjects in voluntary secondary schools (52% of schools). However, it is important to note that currently some 90% of students across all school types choose to study History at Junior Cycle with 92% choosing to study Geography.
Shortly after arriving in this Department, I requested the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) to undertake a review of the optional nature of history under the new Framework for Junior Cycle. It is expected that the review will be completed by the end of March 2019.