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Fiona Fogarty shows her sister Emma her Junior Cert results Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland
junior cycle

First it was ‘The Inter’, then it was the Junior Cert… now it’s got a new name…

Irish people will soon have a new method of figuring out each other’s ages, Education Minister Ruairí Quinn confirmed this morning…

FINDING OUT WHETHER someone sat the ‘Inter Cert’ or the Junior Cert has long been one of the tried and tested methods of figuring out the age of a new work colleague or prospective life partner (other popular tactics may or may not include a number of casual queries on ‘Memories of Italia ’90′ and ‘The Life and Times of Johnny Logan’)

In years to come, the Inter vs. Junior Cert question will be superseded with a new question, however; Education Minister Ruarí Quinn has confirmed that the reformed second level programme will henceforth be known as the ‘Junior Cycle Student Award’ .

The reformed cycle — which has been met with some criticism from teaching unions — is being phased in over several years from this September.

A new working group made up of union members, management bodies, and officials from the Department and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment meets this Friday to consider issues raised by teachers in advance of the introduction of the new programme.

The current Junior Cert curriculum has been in place for 24 years with only minor changes to syllabuses. It replaced the Intermediate Certificate in 1992.

Quinn said the new JCSA would put “students, rather than exams, at the centre of the three year cycle”.

The changes will see eight new “short courses” introduced to the curriculum, including computer programming, PE, Chinese and artistic performance. Students will get marks for showing what they can do in practical tasks rather than in the examination hall.

Quinn said reforming the State examination is necessary but that many teachers have “legitimate concerns” about how it will happen.

Teachers have raised concerns about the move to a continuous assessment system for some subjects and said that more teachers will be needed. Concerns have also been raised over the move to school-based assessment of students.

Read: Chinese, coding and caring for animals: Junior Cycle is getting an overhaul >

Read: TUI says more teachers are needed if planned Junior Cert changes are to be made >

Damien Kiberd: Jihad against Junior Cert is bizarre >

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