Cork teachers welcome Junior Cert history decision

Cork teachers welcome Junior Cert history decision
01/10/2019 Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD speaking to media following the announcement for History to be given a special core status in the Framework for Junior Cycle at Government Buildings, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

CORK history teachers and lecturers have welcomed the news that history will become a mandatory subject at Junior Cycle.

The news broke with Education Minister Joe McHugh announcing that the subject will be granted ‘special status’.

Minister McHugh is going against the recommendations of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), who advised history should remain an optional subject.

Richard Terry, a history teacher in St Colman’s College in Fermoy, said he was “delighted”.

“We [history teachers] flagged this is a problem with the new Junior Cycle, and we are delighted the Minister has seen sense and given history importance.”

“When you look at [Brexit]... it’s what happens when people forget about their history. There are calls for a return to Britain’s imperial past, when Britain ‘ruled the world’. Most other counties would not like a return to that.”

Mr Terry added that history is key for people seeing through ‘fake news’.

“People are using history as a means to their own end, like with the rise of far rights groups.”

“If young people are equipped with facts, can recognise propaganda, and know how to questions sources, they can deal with false news.”

UCC History lecturer, Dr Finola Doyle O’Neill, said it was “a historic day”.

“It is an enlightened decision on the part of the Minister, despite the protestations of the NCCA.”

“This is borne out of how we celebrate history greatly in this country, for example with the 1916 centenary. We give it an emphasis.”

Dr Doyle O’Neill believes the reason we are so “embroiled” in Brexit is because of the UK’s “lack of historical awareness.”

“History is a non-mandatory subject in the UK... this is connected to the rush to disengage with the EU, it was an uninformed choice.”

“We need to be informed. Young people need to look at the threads of history. It is an intrinsic part of our culture and a good way of understanding ourselves.”

“In a world where false facts thrive, history is important because history is predicated on fact.”

Dr Doyle O’Neill added that Cork had many important centenaries coming up next year. In 1920 the burning of Cork city, the assassination of Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain, and the death of his successor Terence MacSwiney from a hunger strike all occurred.

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