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All first-year students will have to study history as part of the Junior Cycle from September

History is now a core subject on the Junior Cycle.

Image: Shutterstock/panitanphoto

ALL FIRST-YEAR students will have to study history from September 2020. 

Minister for Education Joe McHugh announced today that arrangements will be put in place to give history a special core status in the Junior Cycle. 

From September, all schools will be required to offer history as a Junior Cycle subject. All students entering first year will be required to study history as part of the curriculum. 

These students will follow the existing Junior Cycle history specification, which requires a minimum of 200 hours of learning. 

Prior to the introduction of the new framework, history was a mandatory subject in approximately half of post-primary schools, although around nine out of 10 students across post-primary took the history exam at Junior Cycle level.

The History specification was introduced to schools in September 2018, as part of the roll-out of the Junior Cycle Framework.

There has been much debate about the status of History in schools in the last year, with many people arguing it such be a compulsory subject. 

History teachers had been particularly vocal in calling for history to be made a core subject. 

Last October, McHugh requested that history be given “special core status” in the Junior Cycle school curriculum.

Since then, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has been advising the Department of Education about how to give effect to the decision.

“I believe that there is an obligation on leaders and older generations to ensure we provide the opportunity for the next generation to gain an understanding of our past – the good and the bad,” McHugh said.

“We need to afford young people the chance to learn from our chequered history and appreciate how knowledge of the past can shape the future,” he added. 

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has been asked to develop a short course for students with learning difficulties. 

The Department of Education said that these students will not be required to study the subject before the short course is made available in 2021. 

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