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Philosophy to be part of new changes to Junior cycle in 2017

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 05/01/2015. Philosophy to be part of new changes to Junior cycle in 2017Tags: Education And Politics Parenting

The Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, has signalled that the subject of Philosophy will be brought in as part of the new changes for the Junior cycle that will be implemented in 2017.

The Minister has said that she will ask the National Council of Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) to develop a short course on Philosophy for the first, second and third years of secondary school.

The Minister explained that she wants “to give students an opportunity to explore the concepts and ideas of philosophy in the 21st century”. She added that the study of philosophy would make a significant contribution to giving students the tools to critically engage in an informed manner with the world around them. Many other European countries already have the subject included in their curriculum in primary and secondary education.

What is Philosophy?

If the subject is to be taught in secondary schools, parents and students can expect to learn about life and the ‘big questions’ regarding existence, such as ‘what is free will?’ and ideology behind our laws and ethics. Philosophy is a broad subject that also includes theories behind religion, metaphysics and politics which will allow students to engage in ‘critical thinking’ that will both encourage discussion within the classroom and discover the meaning behind our everyday assumptions.

If short courses in Philosophy are to be developed then they will be part of the new curriculum that will replace the traditional ‘certificate’ with the Junior Cycle Student Award, for which pupils can combine existing exam subjects with up to four short courses.

However, proposed changes to the Junior Certificate has already ignited teacher unions to call for strikes over the ongoing issue of subject marking within the new system.

Do you think Philosophy should be part of children’s education? Please leave a comment.


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