Union has 'huge doubts' about new Junior Cycle

Gerard Craughwell

The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) has warned that Ireland's education system will suffer long-term damage if the implementation of the new "Junior Cycle" is rushed through.

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has announced that the Junior Cert is to be rebranded the Junior Cycle Student Award from September, adding the new system will put students, rather than exams, at the centre of the three-year cycle.

He acknowledged teachers were right to have concerns about resourcing the new system, but said he did not believe it would create an enormous workload.

However, the TUI said no clear guidelines had been set out by the Department of Education as to how students will be assessed under the new Junior Cycle Student Award programme.

The TUI will attend a working group on the new cycle today in a bid to address such concerns as well as to highlight the increased workload that teachers will be faced with.

Union president Gerard Craughwell said: "We don't know how assessment is going to be done…We need a clear roadmap as to how exactly this programme is going to run.

"I have huge doubts about this programme running smoothly from the beginning and that surely is not the way to run an education system."

Update 10am: Secondary teachers will decide whether to ballot for industrial action before the end of January. Mr Craughwell said if members' concerns are not addressed, teachers would prepare for a vote.

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