"Minister Joe McHugh has a responsibility to ensure young Irish people know the history of this country; he must restore history as a core subject for the Junior Certificate” – Tóibín
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has responded to news that the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has decided to recommend that history be kept as an optional Junior Certificate subject. The NCCA’s recommendation to Minister Joe McHugh to keep history as an optional subject for the Junior Certificate is a set back for the efforts to compel the Minister to reintroduce it as a core subject.
An Teachta Tóibín stated:
“The history of this country is something that belongs to every citizen of Ireland. Reducing history in our schools to the periphery, a process instigated by Labour’s Ruairí Quinn as Education Minister, was a terrible mistake. The continued pursuit of that wrong approach by Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh is without any credible justification.
“Last year, President Higgins rightly criticised the relegation of history in the school curriculum. Knowledge of history and historical processes is vital to a prosperous and cohesive future.
“Access to history should be a broad as possible. Reducing history to a mere choice for children as young as 12 drastically increases the likelihood that many will never have a real opportunity to learn about what has happened in the past, why things have happened and the importance of past occurrences for understanding and shaping the present and the future.
“As a society, we need greater and more thorough engagement with the past, not less. For the purposes of healthy citizenship and civic consciousness, as well as for the benefit of individual young, Aontú is calling for history to be placed at the heart of the Junior Certificate curriculum.
“It is especially important that in the midst of this decade of centenaries, when we are particularly conscious of the revolutionary period, that the government is not allowed to get away with weasel words about the importance of understanding our past, while simultaneously working to diminish young people’s knowledge of broad historical processes and our country.”