Thursday, 20 June 2013

Questions (92)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

92. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reconsider maintaining history as a core subject at junior certificate level (details supplied). [29842/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In line with the philosophy of the Framework for Junior Cycle, no subject or short course will be deemed compulsory apart from Irish, English and Mathematics. Schools will be given flexibility to shape their own junior cycle programme by including a selection of subjects, short courses and other learning experiences that will allow their students to meet the requirements of the twenty-four statements of learning outlined in the Framework. Under the current system only 52% of schools - the voluntary secondary schools - are obliged to provide History as core. Yet 90% of students present for History in the Junior Certificate. History will become a discrete subject under the Framework. New specifications for History will be developed in for implementation in schools from September 2017 . In the event that a student does not study History as a discrete subject, there will be a requirement of schools to ensure that students meet the statements of learning, including "values local, national and international heritage, understands the importance of the relationship between past and current events and the forces that drive change". Individual schools will have the flexibility to decide how they may do this. For example, a school or group of schools in a town, may opt to develop a short course in History to reflect a particular historical event relevant to their area. I met with the representatives of the History Teachers' Association of Ireland in early 2012 and the discussion at that meeting helped to inform the final Framework document. I have every confidence that the changes envisaged in Framework for Junior Cycle will ensure that the place of historical study will be retained and given a new impetus across the junior cycle curriculum. Such an impetus should help to improve take up of History at senior cycle also.