Comment: Radical overhaul of Junior Cert

THE oft maligned Junior Cert looks set for the heave ho, following the announcement of Education Minister, Ruairi Quinn’s radical plans to completely overhaul the exam last week.

THE oft maligned Junior Cert looks set for the heave ho, following the announcement of Education Minister, Ruairi Quinn’s radical plans to completely overhaul the exam last week.

Since its inception in 1989, replacing the then Inter Cert, the Junior Cert became a dry run for the Leaving Cert, which involved many of the same elements.

Its critics decried the rote learning, which is a feature of both exams.

The new proposals seek to break this straitjacket, through a system of continuous assessment, which will allow for more innovation and creativity.

It’s envisaged that schools and teachers will have the capacity to encourage critical thinking and to provide more more creativity in appraoching subjects.

The State Exams Commission will continue to set exam papers in traditional subjects and schools will complement these with their own choice of short courses.

The short courses, in areas like digital technology, will allow for greater diversity and indeed practicality in the curriculum.

The move is to be welcomed.