Latest punt on Junior Cert reform may pay off
Published 25/01/2016 | 02:30
Efforts to reform Ireland's Junior Cert cycle have been long, painful, arduous and latterly marked by a degree of indifference - bordering on contempt - from the membership of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI), the country's largest, 18,000-strong second-level teachers' union.
Concerns over continuous assessment of pupils have largely been addressed. But today's invitation from Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan to school principals - for teachers to participate in a new phase of training to implement the reforms - could bring matters to a head.
Whilst the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI), which represents a third of second-level teachers, is now co-operating with the training programme, the ASTI is not. However, the ASTI's mandate has been undermined by the fact its stance is based on a ballot of less than 40pc of its membership.
In taking a more hardline stance, the Government may be taking a punt that the ASTI's silent majority may exert pressure on their union and get with the reform programme.
If it leads to long-awaited reform, it may just be a punt worth taking.