| 13.6°C Dublin

School strike looms despite Minister's intervention

TALKS between the second-level teacher unions and Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan have failed to resolve the row over Junior Cert Reform.

It means that the two unions are going ahead with plans for a one-day strike  on December 2, that will  close about 730  second-level schools.  There are also  plans for a further one-day strike in  January.

Following today’s meeting, union  representatives said the minister’s insistence that 40pc of the marks for State certification be awarded by students’ own teachers had created an impasse.

Other issues of concern to the teacher unions also remain, such as the failure to clarify how the proposals will be resourced in schools.

Today’s meeting was arranged after  the executives of the  Association of Secondary Teachers’  lreland (ASTI)  and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) decided on the December 2  strike at meetings last Friday.

The strike decisions followed the collapse of talks earlier in the week, when the unions rejected a compromise offer from the minister.

The row has been  going on for two years since the previous minister, Ruairi Quinn, announced the  abolition of the State certificate at this stage in education and the replacement of  the traditional June exams with teachers assessing their own students.

Last week , Ms O’Sullivan agreed to retain their State certificate-the Junior Cert- and to maintain traditional exams for 60pc of the marks.

The unions are opposed to teachers assessing their own students at all and warn of a threat to educational standards by the introduction of internal assessment.

Today the unions reiterated their support for changes to the Junior Cycle including new forms of assessment such as portfolio and practical work.

The unions  said they attended today’s talks because they believe a solution is possible which protects education standards, is student centred, and which does not undermine the integrity of Ireland’s State exams system.

They said added that strike action is a last resort but all other avenues have been exhausted to date.

Online Editors