Labour Senator Jimmy Harte says reforms to the Junior Cert examination will put pupils first. Harte says the reforms were “long overdue” and added:
“The sweeping reforms announced for the Junior Cert this week will ensure that pupils across Donegal are equipped with key skills and learning techniques that are relevant for their futures, according to Senator Harte. The move will see the traditional Junior Cert being phased-out and replaced by a new-look curriculum which gives students much more choice and which finally ends reliance on a single exam which is a major source of distress to pupils,” he said, adding the reforms mark a new era for secondary education.
He said the new-look Junior Cert will instead focus on practical work, group work and more project-based learning, with particular emphasis on developing numeracy and literacy skills, using new technology, and working with others.
“Pupils will also be able to avail of new short courses in schools in areas such as digital literacy, Mandarin, caring for animals, and physical education. Overall, the reforms aim to improve pupils’’ ability to ‘learn by discovery’ and problem-solve.
“There is compelling evidence that the current junior cycle is failing our young people. That is why this reform of the Junior Cert is long overdue.”
He said across Donegal he had seen too many students ‘switch off’ in second year, while the experience of third year is dominated by Junior Cert exams where the focus narrows on exam performance exams, rather than the quality of learning.
“The revised syllabus will put pupils, rather than exams, at the heart of the junior cycle again and it marks a new era for secondary education in Donegal.”