The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh TD, has today issued guidelines for schools regarding assessment and reporting on students’ learning at Junior Cycle in 2020.
The ASTI welcomes the announcement that students will receive a State Certificate on completion of the Junior Cycle from the Department of Education and Skills. The ASTI had previously called on the Minister to award a State Certificate to this year’s Junior Cycle students.
The guidelines have emerged following recommendations from the Advisory Group for Contingency Planning for State Examinations 2020.
Today’s statement from the Department of Education and Skills confirms that all elements of the Junior Certificate are cancelled in 2020. It also makes clear for students that they will have completed their Junior Cycle at the end of May.
ASTI President Deirdre Mac Donald has expressed regret that this year’s cohort of Junior Certificate students will not have the opportunity to sit the examinations as normal:
“The experience of this examination has always been a valuable milestone in the educational experience of Irish students. However, having regard to all the circumstances, the guidelines being issued are the best that can be achieved this year.
“The pressure of sitting examinations that would have enjoyed no credible status would have imposed unnecessary stress on these students whether they were held prior to the summer holidays or in the autumn.
“We believe that the well-being of these students is best served by the freedom to enjoy the summer of 2020 without the pressure of examinations hanging over them.
“I wish to again acknowledge the enormous efforts of teachers, students and school communities in ensuring continuity of teaching and learning during this pandemic.”