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Second level schools protest over new Junior Cert

Staff at St Mel's College in Longford pictured protesting the proposed changes to the Junior Cert. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie

Staff at St Mel's College in Longford pictured protesting the proposed changes to the Junior Cert. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie

Teachers unions have organised a national protest at second levels schools across the country this week over the new Junior Cert.

The event is aimed at “drawing attention” to teachers concerns over the proposals to change the Junior Certificate and is being organised by second level unions ASTI and TUI.

One such protest took place at Ardscoil Phadraig yesterday at lunchtime.

“The protest took the form of a short rally outside school premises around the country,” Declan Flanagan, TUI Country Branch Secretary said.

“Regular school business was not disrupted by the actions and normal supervision arrangements continued during the event.”

Mr Flanagan went on to say that teachers were very concerned by the proposals that were in place and indicated they would “pose serious threats” to education standards across the board. “Teachers believe the Minister’s proposals pose serious threats to education standards and to the objectivity and transparency of Junior Cycle examinations,” he added.

“There is an unacceptable lack of information on how the new programme will work and how it will be resourced and the move to school-based assessment raises questions about the validity of student results. Teachers also feel that the planned discontinuation of external assessment puts standards at risk and the education system is not equipped for change of such magnitude after six years of austerity cuts.”

Speaking on RTE Radio yesterday morning Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn rejected criticism of the new Junior Cert proposals.

Mr Quinn said that assessment will be for learning rather than testing and examining students.

Hel also said that the current cycle is no longer suitable for modern students.

Gardaí in Longford made several arrests this week after a number of people were found in possession of cannabis.

On March 6 last at Berkley Courtyard, Newtownforbes a man was questioned after he was found to have €25 worth of the drug on him. He admitted the offence and gardaí are continuing with their investigations.

Meanwhile, serveral people were questioned on March 8 after gardaí in Longford town carried out a number of seraches. Five people were found to have been in possession of cannabis resin at Tesco Car park, Townpark and other locations in the town. Investigations continue.

 

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