Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 17/01/2014. Tags: Teachers Education And Politics
According to a Press Release issued this evening by the ASTI, Teachers unions are to consider balloting on proposed Junior Cycle changes. The statement goes on to say that it's union representatives are "gravely disappointed after attending a working group on proposed Junior Cycle changes with the other education partners and Department of Education and Skills officials today. "
According to the statement, the ASTI and the TUI believe that today’s meeting did not involve genuine engagement on the issues of most concern to second-level teachers. The executive bodies of the TUI and ASTI will meet to decide on balloting members on non-cooperation with the implementation of the proposed changes.
Speaking after the meeting ASTI General Secretary Pat King said:
“TUI and ASTI representatives today attended a meeting of the working group on proposed Junior Cycle changes with the other education partners.
“In a series of bilateral meetings over several months, both ASTI and TUI had outlined their significant concerns over the proposed changes, including the threat to the standards and objectivity of exams at Junior Cycle level, the capacity of schools to implement the new Junior Cycle programme in the wake of a litany of cutbacks, and the potential of the programme to exacerbate inequalities between schools.”
TUI General Secretary John MacGabhann said:
“We have consistently stressed that change for which adequate preparation has not been made can cause lasting damage to the education system
and particularly to individual students.
“With less than nine months left before implementation is scheduled to commence, today was set as a deadline for the Department of Education and Skills to provide concrete information that could be objectively considered by the unions.
“Regrettably, key questions on standards, capacity and equity which we have repeatedly posed were not satisfactorily answered and the level of detail required on a number of crucial matters was not provided. Even at this late stage, there remain more questions than answers and this is completely unacceptable.”
According to RTE, following today's meeting Minister Quinn has acknowledged that some of the concerns of the unions were legitimate and has said that the Department of Education will slow down the pace at which a new programme covering the first three years of secondary education will be introduced. The Department has also advised that at least two additional days of training, on top of the three originally proposed, will be given to teachers for each subject in the new programme and one of those days will involve schools closing to allow all staff to participate. Additionally the next two years will see just two new subject specifications introduced - English and Science - as opposed to the four originally planned. The key issues around lack of resources in schools and concerns around school-based assessment remain to be addressed. The Department has proposed that sub-groups be established to look in detail at these two matters.