Minister for Education must postpone further implementation of Junior Cycle reform until teachers' concerns are resolved - Jonathan O'Brien TD
Sinn Féin will use its Private Members time this week to call on the Minister for Education to postpone further implementation of Junior Cycle reform until all outstanding matters are resolved with the teachers.
Speaking from Leinster House today, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD said;
“I recognise that reform and modernisation of the Junior Cycle is necessary.
“However, I also believe that the education of students suffers by expecting teachers to deliver reforms that they are not adequately resourced to deliver.
“Teachers are already stretched beyond capacity due to the enormous cuts to the education budget by this government over the last number of years. This includes a further 1% cut in capitation grants this year.
“Sinn Féin is extremely concerned that the Minister for Education and Skills is refusing to listen to legitimate concerns of teachers regarding the reform programme.
“This has led to teachers previously having to take strike action and other forms of industrial action.
“It is the Minister’s refusal to listen to teachers that has created the current impasse in negotiations and has led to teachers deciding to take strike action again this Thursday.
“I don’t think that this decision was taken lightly by teachers and they should be commended for continuing to work for their students in what are difficult circumstances.
“It is time for Minister Jan O’Sullivan to sit down and listen to teachers on this issue.
“Such an environment is detrimental to the education of students, particularly those who are less than six months away from sitting state examinations.
“Our motion calls on Minister O’Sullivan to postpone further implementation of Junior Cycle reform until all outstanding matters are resolved with the teachers.”
Full text of motion follows:
That Dail Eireann -
· notes that the previous Government examined axing the Junior Cert exam structures as a cost-saving initiative and that such axing of the Junior Cert exam structures was the starting point of the current Government until teacher unions began a campaign of opposition;· is concerned that the Minister for Education and Skills is refusing to listen to legitimate concerns of teachers who are expected to deliver reforms which has created the impasse in the negotiations;
· notes industrial strike action by teachers due to take place on 22nd January and further notes this action is not undertaken lightly by teachers;
· notes that teachers have engaged previously in strike action and other forms of industrial action on an ongoing basis which undermines the delivery of the proposed changes including not attending the CPD training organised in connection with the Junior Cycle Framework Proposals; not attending planning meetings associated with the JCFP; not engaging in any aspect of school based assessment for the purposes of the Junior Cycle Student Award; not engaging in any development or delivery of the new Junior Cycle Framework Short Courses.;
· acknowledges that the Minister for Education and Skills has moved previously on the issue of Junior Cycle reform;
· recognises that reform and modernisation of the Junior Cycle is needed so that our education system is fit for students today;
· notes that schools and teachers are stretched beyond capacity within the current educational framework which has suffered enormous cuts to resources under this Government’s austerity budgets, including a further 1% cut in capitation grants this year;
· commends teachers for continuing to work for their students under difficult circumstances;
· further acknowledges that students’ education may suffer if teachers are expected to deliver reforms they are not adequately resourced to deliver and in circumstances where in the absence of agreement there is ongoing industrial action;
· calls on the Minister for Education and Skills to postpone further implementation of Junior Cycle reform until all outstanding matters are resolved with the teachers.
Gerry Adams, Jonathan O'Brien, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, , Mary Lou McDonald, Michael Colreavy, Seán Crowe, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Martin Ferris, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Sandra McLellan, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín.