Sunday 24 September 2017

Politics will be Leaving Cert subject to mark 1916 centenary

Taoiseach Enda Kenny reading the Proclaimation of Independence at the County Museum in Dundalk where he was attending the opening of the 1916 commemorative exhibition. Picture:Arthur Carron
Taoiseach Enda Kenny reading the Proclaimation of Independence at the County Museum in Dundalk where he was attending the opening of the 1916 commemorative exhibition. Picture:Arthur Carron
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A NEW subject, Politics and Society, will be rolled out for Leaving Certificate students in September 2016.

It has been in the offing for years, and it is finally getting the go-ahead next year, to mark the 1916 centenary.

Initially, it will be taught in a limited number of about 20 to 30 schools but it will become available, on a phased basis, to all schools who want to teach it.

The first students to take the new subject will be examined in it in the Leaving Certificate, in 2018, with the possibility of earning CAO points

While all Junior Cycle candidates study Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE), the gap in social and political education for the Leaving Certificate has long been a source of concern.

Politics and Society will bring a social science perspective to Leaving Cert studies, and will allow students to build on what they learn in CSPE.

It is almost a decade since the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) started consultation on the new subject and draft syllabus was produced some years ago.

Although it was strongly pushed by former Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, the money involved in training teachers was not deemed a spending priority during the era of cutbacks.

Now, Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan has decided it would be a fitting contribution to the Government's 1916 commemorations.

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.

Among other matters, students will be taught an understanding of the social systems within which people act locally, nationally and more widely, the concepts underpinning contemporary systems of government and a respect for human rights and responsibilities.

The idea is that students come at these concepts in an active way, through applying them to the world they know by exploring, for example, democracy in their local sports club and in their school, and the global reach of television and of video-sharing sites such as YouTube.

Revolutionary

Students will be exposed to the ideas of key political thinkers ranging from revolutionary socialist Karl Marx to US economist Milton Friedman, a key advocate of the free market.

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

Assessment in Politics and Society will include a written report by students on an active citizenship project, for 20pc of the total marks.

Irish Independent

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