Unions to give verdict on Junior Cert deal
UP TO 350,000 second-level students could be locked out of school again next month if teachers' unions don't accept the latest proposals in the row over the Junior Cert.
If the industrial action goes ahead, it would be the third day's lost tuition that second-level students have suffered in the current academic year.
The date of Tuesday, March 24, emerged as a date for possible industrial action in discussions ahead of today's crucial joint meeting of the executive bodies of the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI).
Today is the deadline for teachers to give their verdict on proposals from mediator Dr Pauric Travers, former president of St Patrick's teaching training college in Drumcondra, Dublin. The decisions facing the leaders is whether to accept or reject Dr Travers' document as a basis for settlement, and whether to ballot members.
Any decision by the unions to reject the deal, and to embark on further industrial action, is likely to be met with a stiff response by Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan.
Dr Travers issued his peace plan two weeks ago, but the unions sought clarification on a number of issues before making a final decision.
At the heart of union opposition to plans to reform the Junior Cert are proposals that teachers grade their own students for a State certificate.
Previous Education Minister Ruari Quinn wanted teachers to do all the assessment, but, in a compromise, Ms O'Sullivan said she would retain the traditional June exams for 60pc of the marks.
Dr Travers supported the minister's 60-40 breakdown but proposed the exam be split in two. He suggested the assessments by teachers and the traditional exams be recorded separately and not combined. He was hoping that would overcome teacher resistance to grading their own students for a state certificate. He said it was not ideal but he regarded it as a basis for an "honourable settlement".
David Quinn: Page 31