Citizenship education programme in schools requires resources

September 13, 2017

Anne-Marie McNally, the Social Democrats spokesperson on Society and Citizenship, has today called on the government to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to the proposed new secondary school subject, Politics and Society.

Ms McNally said this module has the potential to deliver something that has been sorely lacking from the curriculum in Ireland, namely an area of study that can deliver a genuinely civically literate generation.

However she said the government were talking a good game but the failure to provide any extra resources to schools for the delivery of this new curriculum means its implementation and delivery is likely to be unsuccessful.

Anne-Marie McNally said:

“I have long been an advocate for a programme of study in schools, from an early age, which would equip our young people with the knowledge and skills necessary to fully understand and engage in the political process.

“If we want to encourage truly active citizenship it is vital we provide the tools for that engagement to be informed and fulsome. To date, the Irish educational system has failed abysmally in that regard.  The proposal for this new module is hugely welcome but by failing to allocate additional tuition time to schools for both the pilot scheme and the imminent roll-out of the national programme they are placing a further burden on already overstretched schools and their resources.

“At this very moment we have teachers who will be tasked with delivering this course undergoing two days of in-service training and those teachers will expend a vast amount of their own time and energy in trying to take students trough exams successfully.”

Ms McNally added:

“The Citizenship Engagement Network, which is a group of NGOs, are meeting to see how they can support teachers in the delivery of this subject and in doing so are doing more than the government in yet another typical example of the government abdicating responsibility to the NGO sector for the delivery of public services.

“If this government is truly serious about proper civic education then they must fund it appropriately instead of just cramming another subject into the already creaking Leaving Cert timetable. If not it will simply become another short-term hollow boast by government which will inevitably end in failure as a result of lack of basic support.”

ENDS

13 September 2017