ASTI says representatives had 'constructive engagement' with Minister

ASTI says representatives had 'constructive engagement' with Minister

ASTI Gerneral Secretary Kieran Christie & ASTI President Ann Piggot at The Department of Education on Marlboro Street, Dublin.

The ASTI has said that representatives had “constructive engagement” with the Minister for Education and her officials on the Leaving Certificate today. 

The Association of Secondary School Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) has said that work is being done with a view to finding a resolution to the current impasse. 

Last night, the ASTI announced that it was withdrawing from discussions on the Leaving Cert 2021 pending a guarantee that the talks will focus on the Minister’s stated objectives of planning for examinations and scoping out a corresponding measure.

Education Minister Norma Foley. 
Education Minister Norma Foley. 

ASTI General Secretary Kieran Christie said it was “unacceptable” that a plan is being developed which will see students preparing for two versions of a Leaving Cert, with Calculated Grades being the dominant option, and the Leaving Cert exams filling in assessment gaps.

In a statment today, the Department of Education said that the Minister for Education Norma Foley TD had met with the President and General Secretary of the TUI, Martin Marjoram and Michael Gillespie today to discuss the progress being made in the ongoing discussions regarding the 2021 State examinations.

The Minister also met with the President and General Secretary of the ASTI, Ann Piggott and Kieran Christie. 

"The Minister reaffirmed her strong belief that the process of confidential engagement with all stakeholders agreed last Friday remains the best forum to advance discussions. She extended an invitation to the ASTI to reengage in this process," the statement said. 

The Minister said that discussions on the State Examinations will continue throughout the weekend and that she is committed to providing clarity and certainty to students at the earliest possible time.

A need for clarity 

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central and Spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said that he hopes that things can now get “back on track”.

We want to be constructive on this, from Sinn Féin’s point of view. We want to see a solution, our focus is the Leaving cert students but for that to happen, we need everyone to get back around the table.

“I think every effort should be made to try and deliver a solution and certainty, or at least clarity by Tuesday,” he added.

Don O'Leary at the Cork Life Centre. Picture Dan Linehan
Don O'Leary at the Cork Life Centre. Picture Dan Linehan

Cork Life Centre director Don O’Leary said that clarity for students next week is vital, as many are struggling with the unknown.

“We’re the adults here. We have to be showing these kids some leadership and we have to be listening to what they are saying.

“They should be at the centre and at the core of every decision because they are the ones that are going to have to live with it and they need clarity, and they need it now.”

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