– Bruton takes a backseat as Junior Cert row rumbles on –
Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher has expressed his frustration with the Education Minister over his failure to bring an end to the ASTI dispute over Junior Cert assessment. The new assessment task for the Junior Cert begins this week, but students in ASTI schools will automatically lose 10% of their grade because teachers are refusing to sign up to the assessment process.
Senator Gallagher explained, “This dispute has been dragging on for years without any resolution and now students are suffering through no fault of their own. This is a deeply unfair situation, which should never have been allowed to get this far.
“Hundreds of students across Cavan and Monaghan will now automatically lose 10% of their overall grade because teachers who are members of the ASTI are refusing to mark the assessment element of the course. Two thirds of schools across the country are affected by this action. Minister Bruton has failed to bring teachers with him and as a result students are being punished.
“Over the last few days the Minister has been briefing the media about his Parents and Students (Charter) Bill, which is only at draft stage. More worryingly, the proposal to implement an Ombudsman for Children, which was agreed by the Dáil last summer has been effectively shelved.
“Minister Bruton needs to get his priorities straight, and instead of going on PR overdrives about draft initiatives, should be focusing his energy on resolving the Junior Cert assessment dispute. Students should not be penalised because the Minister has failed to clarify or resolve the situation.
“I am calling on the Minister to re-engage with the ASTI without delay. The assessment process has already begun and students are missing out. It is extremely important that this dispute is resolved as quickly as possible so that all students are treated equally and are not being punished because the Minister has failed to continue negotiating with teachers”.