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Teachers’ union calls for Junior Cert exams to be cancelled


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A teachers’ union is calling for the Junior Cycle exams to be cancelled this year.

In a dramatic development in the midst of talks on the Leaving Cert, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has said they should not go ahead.

The statement issued as talks continued tonight on arrangements for the Leaving Cert.

Cancelling the Junior Cycle exams would help finalise arrangements for the Leaving Cert, the union said.

There has been little expectation the Junior Cycle June exams would take place because of the public health landscape.

There is a widespread view among education stakeholders that it would be too much to run both sets of exams together in June - on health and safety grounds.

Each set of exams involves around 60,000 students and many schools would have several hundred candidates.

Education Minister Norma Foley said the Junior Cycle exams would be on the table in the current discussions but they have not featured.

Tonight, the TUI has called on the minister to cancel them.

“The TUI is of the view that the State Examination Commission (SEC) Junior Cycle exams cannot proceed this year and is calling on the Minister to confirm this to students, teachers and parents.

“The TUI is making this request on the basis that no precedent would be set and that as soon as possible, hopefully in 2022, there would be reinstatement of the Junior Cycle exams. “

A statement added: “While, understandably, the focus to date has been on the arrangements for Leaving Certificate students there is also a cohort of over 60,000 students who do not know if their Junior Certificate exams will proceed.

“The TUI has been advised that, based on public health advice, it will not be possible logistically to hold the Junior Certificate and the Leaving Certificate exams in tandem in June in the normal manner. “

The union said an early decision would allow “appropriate alternative assessment arrangements to be designed, at school level – as was done last year - that will ensure Junior Cycle students remain productively engaged with learning until the end of the school year.”

It would also create a pathway “to finalise discussions” on the Leaving Certificate Established/Leaving Certificate Applied and Leaving Certificate Vocational Programmes, the union stated

The TUI added it would also prevent excessive workload and pressure for teachers and school management, who are currently trying to ensure Leaving Cert students complete their orals, project work, coursework , while also engaging in emergency remote teaching.

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