Thursday 27 November 2014

Full Marx as Leaving Cert students take up politics

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

Published 31/01/2014 | 02:30

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn pictured with Pat Rabbitt Minister for Communications ,Energy and Natural Resources  after the Launch of the Public Consulation Phase in the Development of a Digital Strategy for Schools at the Dept of Education on Marlborough St yesterday.
Pic Frank Mc Grath
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn

STUDENTS taking on the latest Leaving Certificate subject will have plenty to talk about – from the revolutionary socialism of Karl Marx to the YouTube phenomenon.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has given the go-ahead for a new senior cycle subject, called 'Politics and Society'.

It has been under discussion by government education advisers, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, since 2006 and a draft syllabus was published three years ago.

But, along with a number of other new or revised syllabi, it has been sitting on the shelf.

Mr Quinn has now asked the NCCA to review the content of the politics and society syllabus to see if it needs updating before being rolled out to schools.

No date has yet been set for its introduction but Mr Quinn's spokesperson said that he regarded it as an important subject and wanted it on the curriculum as soon as possible.

According to the NCCA, politics and society will aim to develop the student's ability to be a reflective and active citizen.

CONFLICT

It will cover such areas as democracy, culture, conflict, globalisation, equality, diversity and sustainable development and will bring, for the first time, a social science perspective to senior cycle education.

There will be a strong focus on learning through action and students will come at ideas through applying them to the world they know.

The syllabus will stretch from an exploration of democracy in a local sports club to the global reach of television and video-sharing sites such as YouTube.

Their study of sustainable development will also start with a focus on the merits, or otherwise, of changes in their own community.

They will also look at the global context and examine the roles of multinational companies, governments and other bodies, as well as cultural factors, in enabling or preventing development in Ireland and around the world.

Among the key political thinkers they will study are Karl Marx and US economist and free market advocate Milton Friedman.

Mr Quinn announced his move in a reply to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael Cork South West TD Jim Daly, formerly a school principal and Outreach education officer for the Houses of the Oireachtas.

He said there was an enormous appetite among second-level students for information relating to how their country was governed, particularly since the recession.

Irish Independent

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