Minister requests History to be given special core status in Junior Cert cycle
"I do not believe optional history is right for our schools and the times we live in."
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh has moved to request that History be granted a special core status in the framework for the Junior Cert cycle.
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment [NCAA] was asked to carry out a review of the optional status of History in November of 2018, with their overall report filed to Minister McHugh in July of this year.
Following his own review, McHugh referred to "a decision I have taken after careful consideration and listening to many opinions" on Tuesday morning.
"I am hugely grateful to the NCCA for the work they’ve done and their review, but I do not believe optional history is right for our schools and the times we live in," he added.
Moving forward, the minister will seek the support of the NCCA in devising a new structure for the Junior Cycle, positioning History as an optional subject for students.
"The report was comprehensive and put forward a strong case," McHugh noted.
“I have given it full consideration over the last two months, as well as taking on board the views of many people I meet on a daily basis who dedicate their lives and careers to education and to nurturing the minds of young people.
“My view is that our education system is responsive and progressive enough to allow for the Junior Cycle Framework to be structured in such a way for history to have a special core status."
Of the 21 subjects available under the current framework for the Junior Cycle, just three subjects are mandatory; Mathematics, Irish and English.
“The optional nature of history in the Junior Cycle framework was due to be reviewed two years from now but I am not prepared to risk a fall in the number of students studying history in that time," McHugh continued.
“The Junior Cycle framework focuses on core learning as opposed to core subjects.
"It is my view, after long consideration, that History is central to that.”