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Junior Cert cut to eight subjects under new government plan

Students will be limited to eight exam subjects so that they have more time to devote to literacy and numeracy skills.

Junior Cert students will spend far less time in exam halls from 2014, under new national literacy plans.
Junior Cert students will spend far less time in exam halls from 2014, under new national literacy plans.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE JUNIOR CERTIFICATE will limit students to a maximum of eight subjects from 2014, under a new government plan to improve literacy and numeracy in second-level students.

The plans, unveiled by education minister Ruairí Quinn, will see extra time in lessons specifically devoted to improving reading and arithmetical skills – with the end result being that the number of subjects will be capped at eight.

Schools will be able to instruct their pupils in other subjects, but students will not be able to sit exams in them.

The Irish Times outlines that primary schools will now spend 90 minutes a day on literacy study, and 50 minutes on numeracy, with a standardised national test to measure standards in both fields at the end of 2nd, 4th and 6th class as well as during 2nd Year in secondary school.

The Irish Independent described the new rules as the start of a ‘major reform package’ of second-level education which will also see changes to the methods by which students enter third-level education.

It added that the reformed subjects would make it more difficult for students to learn material off by heart and skew their performance in exams as a result.

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The new Junior Cert regime will affect students entering second level from 2012.

The strategy will also see student teachers spending more time on teaching practice.

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Gavan Reilly

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