Wednesday 13 December 2017

Teachers' strike off, but battle continues

Members of the ASTI are staging strike action
Members of the ASTI are staging strike action

SECOND-level teachers will continue their campaign of non-cooperation with plans for Junior Cert reform, despite Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan's decision to push ahead with the plans.

The Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) called off a threatened third strike day in the country's 730 post-primary schools.

But they are keeping in place a directive banning their 27,000 members from cooperating with training or meetings related to the proposed changes.

ASTI general secretary Pat King said they were not lifting the wider industrial action because they did "not trust the other side" not to roll-out training immediately.

The unions say that proposals produced by Dr Pauric Travers, the former president of St Patrick's teacher training college in Drumcondra, represent only the basis for further negotiations and not a comprehensive resolution.

Ms O'Sullivan, who decided to forge ahead with the reforms after the unions' conditional acceptance of Dr Travers' proposals, is hoping to get around their directives by making training available online.

It remains to be seen how many teachers would be prepared to enlist for online training in defiance of their union.

Department of Education officials will today brief education partners such as parents' representatives and school managers about the minister's plans.


At the heart of the unions' opposition to implementing a reformed Junior Cert is a proposal that teachers take on some responsibility for assessing their own students.

The original plan for teachers to assess students for 100pc of the marks has been diluted considerably, and the current proposal is that the exam be split in two, with the traditional June tests and state certification retained for 60pc of the grade.

Mr King said the minister had "come a long way", but their campaign was "about getting an acceptable quality standard of assessment".


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