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Fine Gael Ard Fheis

Decision to make history optional for the Junior Cert to be reviewed

The minister said the government has a duty to make sure the next generation is informed.

THE DECISION TO make history an optional subject at Junior Cert level is going to be reviewed, according to Education Minister Joe McHugh.

Speaking at the party’s Ard Fheis this evening, the Donegal TD said he had spoken to department officials about the matter, and said he has committed to a review of the decision to remove it as a mandatory subject.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin as well as President Michael D Higgins expressed concern that history will no longer be a core subject at Junior Certificate level.

McHugh said as members were talking about their future at the party’s conference, “we have to know about our past”. His remarks about the review were met with applause.

“What I have committed to tonight is to look at the optional choice that was decided a number of years ago on the basis that I have done a lot of sounding, got a lot of representation from across the demographics and different sectors,” he told tonight, stating that “it was enlightening to get a good read of history”. 

“We do have to look back at lessons learned,” he said, highlighting a number of conflict zones and wars around the world.

“That was our history, we came from a background of conflict to peace,” he said, adding:

My thinking on this is we have an obligation and a duty to make sure our next generation is informed.

The review will be open, and there will be consultation with all stakeholders, said the minister.

Separately, the minister said the review on sex education in schools, which was commissioned early in the new year to assess whats being taught and how its being taught in Irish schools is due to be published early in the new yea. 

“It is an issue we are taking very seriously,” said McHugh.

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