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Major overhaul of the Junior Cert announced

Posted on October 04, 2012 at 05:10 PM

Minister Ruairi Quinn announcing major overhaul of the Junior Cert

Today the Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn announced sweeping changes of the Junior Cert Cycle. Making a break from the current exam focused rote learning system, students will now be assessed by continuous assessments over three years, and sit a final exam in the end of year three. Shaking up the current syllabuses, a number of short courses in areas such as digital media, entrepreneurship, computer coding, and Chinese language and culture will be added. Helping students to become more well-rounded and life ready, the new junior cycle will seek to teach practical skills such as 'staying well' and 'working with others'.

Empowering schools, this new system will also allow schools to design their own courses to suit local needs within guidelines set down by the National Council for Curriculum Assessment.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Ruairi Quinn said, "The new junior cycle provides a framework within which children can express the fullest range of their abilities and see them developed to the fullest possibilities. It provides opportunity for growth and for broader experience of education. It will include all their talents and skills."

[Listen to what Minister Quinn said at today's press launch.]

In line with Labour's commitment to raise overall levels of numeracy and literacy, under the new Junior Cert curriculum, all students will take standardised tests in numeracy and English reading in their second year from 2014. Students will also take standardised tests in science from 2016.

Under this plan, parents will also be better informed on their children's progress and will regularly receive updates on their children's assessment results. Additionally, parents will have access to subject specifications and be able to examine samples of other students work showing expected standards.

Radically reforming, this new Junior Cert Cycle will promote more creative teaching and learning in the classroom, and encourage more innovative and independent thinking.

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