Monday 26 September 2016

Politics and Society to be a new subject on the Leaving Cert

Published 02/02/2016 | 02:30

The gap in social and political education at senior cycle has long been a source of concern. Photo: Getty Images. Picture posed.
The gap in social and political education at senior cycle has long been a source of concern. Photo: Getty Images. Picture posed.

Pupils will start studying the new Leaving Certificate subject of Politics and Society from next September.

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The first exam will be in June 2018 and will qualify for CAO points in the normal way.

There was considerable demand from schools to be the first to offer the subject, with 115 asking to be included from next September, but there was a cap of 41 on places for the initial phase.

Politics and Society will be available to fifth-years in the remainder of the country's 730 second-level schools in September 2018.

The new subject will build on Civil Social and Political Education, which is taken at Junior Cert level, and will bring a social-science perspective to Leaving Cert studies for the first time.

The gap in social and political education at senior cycle has long been a source of concern and it is about a decade since the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment started work on it.

The Government finally decided to phase it in from next September as part of the State's programme to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

Launching the new subject in Limerick yesterday, Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan said it would help to learn from reflection on past events to better equip students to make progress into the future.

She said she was convinced that the new subject would "inspire a generation of new social and political activists in Ireland and I look forward to seeing the positive impact these students will have on society hereafter."

Politics and Society will aim to develop a student's ability to be a reflective and active citizen and will cover areas such as democracy, culture, conflict, globalisation, equality, diversity and sustainability.

Assessment will include a written report by students on an active citizenship project, for 20pc of the total mark.

It will also help equip students for study in areas such as sociology, philosophy and anthropology at third-level.

Welcoming the announcement, Clive Byrne, director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals said its core components, such as "the values of active citizenship and respect for human rights, are critical parts of the journey to adulthood".

He said it was "important that our school curriculum also provides the opportunity for students to understand how politics works, the rights and responsibilities of citizens and how to participate in the civic society which surrounds them.

"Making it an examinable subject is very significant in that the new subject area is equally attractive to students as other areas, such as science or languages."

Irish Independent

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