Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Education and Skills

School Curriculum

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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411. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills her views on making geography a mandatory subject in the secondary school junior cycle curriculum; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44565/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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My Department has every confidence that, through the implementation of the Framework for Junior Cycle the place of Geography will be retained and given a new impetus across the Junior Cycle curriculum. As part of the rollout of the new Framework for Junior Cycle, Geography was one of five new subject specifications that were introduced to schools in September 2018.

The new Junior Cycle has been developed over several years with the final phase of new subject specifications introduced to schools in September 2019. The new Framework for Junior Cycle gives students the opportunity to develop a wider range of knowledge and skills – to equip them for further learning, for work, for responsible and active citizenship, and for healthy living. It gives students better learning opportunities, and rewards and recognises non-academic performance and achievements, with a central focus on the student’s quality of life, wellbeing and mental health.

The Framework for Junior Cycle focuses on active and collaborative learning. It gives greater flexibility and autonomy to schools in terms of subject selection, and new short courses, to tailor a student’s learning to achieve better outcomes for that student. Students are able to study up to 10 subjects for certification through the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement.

We have a dedicated cohort of Geography teachers in our post-primary schools, who will be promoting the inclusion of their subject within programmes provided to students by their schools. Through the implementation of the Framework for Junior Cycle 2015 the curricular significance of Geography will be retained and given a new impetus across the Junior Cycle curriculum.

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