Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (50, 55)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

50. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason geography is being considered for removal as a compulsory junior certificate subject under his reform proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32015/13]

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Patrick Nulty

Question:

55. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason history is being considered for removal as a compulsory junior certificate subject under his reform proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32014/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 50 and 55 together. Success in learning in the new junior cycle will focus on making greater connections between learning and the development of key skills. Such quality learning will be described through 24 statements of learning. Schools will design their programmes to reflect teacher qualifications and students' identified needs. All junior cycle students will be required to study English, Irish and maths and thereafter schools will have the flexibility and authonomy to choose from 18 other subjects, including History and Geography, and short courses. The vast majority of schools already offer History and Geography and the vast majority of students choose these subjects although they are currently compulsory in only half our schools. The popularity of subjects depends on the quality of teaching, the passion of the teachers for their subjects and the engagement of their students. I see no reason why the popularity of History and Geography will change in the future. Overall, I am in favour of leaving the decision on what is offered at the discretion of the school. Curriculum choice is important in motivating students to learn and to remain in school to completion of senior cycle.