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Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Education Minister refuses to rule out video cameras in classrooms

Ruairí Quinn said that he felt that “some older teachers are used to being sole person of authority in the classroom”.

EDUCATION MINISTER RUAIRÍ Quinn has said that  ’we are moving in the direction’ of video cameras being installed for school principals to monitor classrooms.

Speaking on the Today With Seán O’Rourke show on RTÉ this morning, Quinn said that he felt that “some older teachers are used to being the sole person of authority in the classroom”, but insisted that the education system is moving away from this approach.

“Younger teachers are open to the idea of team teaching, they’re open to the idea of using video clips and television and other kinds of aids,” he said.

The minister has also said that there are no plans to remove the state exam element from the Leaving Cert after the radical changes that were recently announced to the Junior Cert, now called the Junior Cycle Student Award.

The new system  to be phased in will reduce the weighting of a final exam result to 60 per cent, with the remainder of a student’s results intended to be a reflection on their work during the course of the three year cycle.

But the minster says that he does not see a similar system being introduced in the senior cycle, either during his term or thereafter:

I think the Leaving Cert will have to remain a formal state examination. The French have the baccalauréat, it is an essential component. The way in which it is taught, they way in which the Leaving Cert is examined may well evolve. I have no such plans to change it whatsoever.

Religion in schools

Quinn also said the religion must remain an important part of the primary school education but said that some elements of religious teaching could be cut back to make time for greater focus on literacy and numeracy.

“There are two issues in this area, ” he said. “The first is about religious instruction which I fully support and I think is an integral part of persons education. The second is about the amount of time it takes for faith formation and the preparation for the sacraments and that can take quite a lot of time.”

Quinn says that he understands that there is a growing movement within the Catholic Church that the responsibility for sacrament preparation is increasingly being taken on by church parishes and a child’s family.

Read: Key questions on new Junior Cycle Student Award ‘unanswered’ >

Read: Priests tell Ruairí Quinn to stop undermining religion in schools >

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