Local teachers strike over Junior Cert plans

Local teachers strike over Junior Cert plans
Teachers from both the Teachers Union of Ireland and Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland both took part in one day strike action yesterday, Tuesday, to protest over proposed changes to the Junior Cert cycle.

Teachers from both the Teachers Union of Ireland and Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland both took part in one day strike action yesterday, Tuesday, to protest over proposed changes to the Junior Cert cycle.

ASTI members at St Mel’s College were among the teachers in Longford town who took part in the one day strike action.

Members across the country voted for industrial action over the new Junior Cert cycle which sees the abolition of the Junior Cert exam and its replacement with a school exam marked by students’ own teachers.

Local teachers believe the move is harmful on a number of levels, not least on the students whom they claim are not there to be judged by their teachers.

“We want to keep objective assessment; we do not want to judge our students, there has to be objectivity where State exams are concerned and this can only be achieved by external assessment,” ASTI rep at St Mel’s College, Longford Mary Hayden told the Leader on Tuesday.

“We think it is unfair to students and we as teachers are being moved from advocate to judge as a direct result of the new Junior Cert.”

Jim Waldron, a well-known English teacher at St Mel’s College, added: “What the Department won’t admit is that this is all about saving money, but teachers know that this is what is going on.

“We were never informed at any stage that this was going to be enforced and English was the first pilot programme under the new cycle.”

Mr Waldron said English teachers were provided with one in-service day in respect of the proposed new curriculum and within a short period of time they were informed by the Department the new course was being introduced. “From last August up to now, the new English course is being taught,” continued Mr Waldron.

“There has been absolutely no consultation with us the teachers; teachers see their role as a lifelong commitment and this situation is totally unsatisfactory.”

A second day of strike action is expected to take place in January.