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Exam Stress

Teachers could go on strike before the end of the month

Teachers are angry about proposed reforms to the Junior Cert.

TEACHERS’ UNIONS ARE warning that they may take industrial action over planned reforms to the Junior Certificate.

Teachers yesterday rejected a set of revised proposals from Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan, saying that they do not feel that the proposed continuous assessment model would be workable.

Under the Department of Education’s plan, teachers would assess 40% of a student’s work in awarding a grade.

Speaking today on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the president of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland Gerry Quinn said that the system had to be standardised, not open to opinion.

“You cannot have half measures on objectivity.

“It’s important that we don’t confuse objectivity with honesty, but in terms of a subject like history, you have to be sure that how it’s marked with the examiners singing from the same hymn sheet with the same understanding as to what requires an A.

“That requires a coordinated system. We currently enjoy that,” he said.

Quinn said that if the coursework was assessed by examiners, there would be no objection and that teachers are “pro improvement”, but said that teachers could not be expected to mark their own students’ work.

Asked if there were plans to take industrial action over the changes, Quinn said that teachers had “exhausted all avenues”.

“We currently have a level of industrial action that is invisible to the public, but we’re not quite where we want to be.

“There could be more [than a one day strike]. On the balance of probability, if the minister does not intervene, then you could see strike action.

“We will do that only as a last resort.”

He added that a day-long strike could be seen before the end of the month.

Read: Jan O’Sullivan rules out any more compromise on her Junior Cycle reforms

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