Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien TD, today questioned Minister Ruairí Quinn on the matter of Junior Cert reforms and warned the plans could result in undermining the new system if parents’ and teachers’ concerns are not listened to.
Deputy O’Brien said:
“I have spoken to many parents about these reforms and there are very grave concerns out there.
“The crux of this is that there is huge respect for the teaching profession and parents place great trust in what these teachers say about their pupils and rightly so.
“Now people on the ground are listening to this debate and are hearing teachers saying that there are issues around the assessment and not having a state exam.
“As a result of this there is a real danger that unless there’s complete confidence in the new assessment procedure, you will undermine confidence in the new school certificate that’s proposed.
“While I welcome the Minister’s willingness to listen to the unions, he has made it clear that he is not willing to listen unless there is a guarantee that there will be no deviation from his current plans.
“I don’t believe that this is the right course of action.
“It is not good enough to blame the trade union ballots on Haddington Road for not having proper consultations previously.
“The Minister and Department and trade unions, and all stakeholders must sit down and discuss this in order to move past the impasse that’s there now.”