Saturday 19 October 2019

Pupils asked for their views on changing status of subject


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Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

In the final year of the Civic Social and Political Education (CSPE) State exam, students were asked their opinion on changing the junior cycle subject's status.

To be written in the form of a letter to the Education Minister, only the examiners will know what the students think.

However, teachers are not happy with the change in status of the subject as part of the junior cycle reforms.

ASTI subject representative Jeanne Barrett, who is also chair of the CSPE Teachers' Association, described yesterday's valedictory paper as "excellent", with some very topical questions, including one on voting at 16, and on leaving the EU.

Brendan Greene, of the TUI, a teacher at St Clare's Comprehensive School, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, agreed that it was a "fair" paper. But both teachers expressed disappointment the subject, which is being incorporated into the new junior cycle well-being programme, will no longer be studied for an exam.

"We feel it devalues the subject and that here is a terrible disconnect; on the one hand politics and society is being put on as an optional Leaving Cert subject and at the same time they are taking off CSPE," said Ms Barrett, who teaches at Loreto College, St Stephen's Green, Dublin.

Mr Green said downgrading CSPE would "kill it". He said there was no point suggesting politics and society would fill the gap. He noted the question on the paper about voting at 16 and the wider debate on that topic, and said CSPE was the last chance to inform 16-year-olds about constitutional matters.

Irish Independent

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