THE LORD Mayor of Cork has written to the Minister for Education urging him to backtrack on the controversial decision to drop history as a core subject on the junior cert curriculum.
Cllr Mick Finn described the removal of history from the curriculum as ‘a devastating blow to knowledge and understanding’ in Ireland.
From this year, history is no longer a compulsory element of the curriculum, with schools given the option to provide other subjects instead. The decision has been criticised by President Michael D Higgins, while Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also recently described it is ‘a catastrophe’ for the subject which could lead to its total elimination in schools. Mr Finn has now added his voice to the calls, writing to the Education Minister Richard Bruton urging him to review the decision.
“Turning our back on history — local, national and global — is worrying,” Mr Finn said.
“A people without knowledge of history are like a tree without roots.
This is a bad decision and needs to be re-examined.”
Mr Finn said that interest in history, and particularly local history, has never been as great as it is now with many historical societies and exhibitions feeding the appetite of those wishing to know more about their ancestors.
“It is also a big draw in terms of tourism as people travelling to Cork and to Ireland want to know more about the events and people who made this country what it is. Huge increases in numbers attending Heritage Day and Culture Night, as well as venues like Elizabeth Fort and Spike Island, also demonstrates this. Whoever took this decision is clearly out of touch with reality,” he said.
The Lord Mayor has written to Education Minister Richard Bruton asking him to review this decision. “It is such a multi-faceted subject that provides a good base knowledge of people and place. There are other core subjects that are much more specialised that warrant re-designation as options rather than core. I would like to know the rationale behind this move as I feel it goes against all trends and common sense, particularly as we approach important commemorations of this country’s Civil War.”