The Education Minister is pushing ahead with plans to give History 'special status' in the new Junior Cycle.
It will mean that students will have to study the subject up until third year.
At the moment Irish, English and Maths are the only mandatory subjects.
Education Minister Joe McHugh is going against the advice of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment which thinks history should remain optional.
Minister McHugh has chosen not to await a planned N-C-C-A review in two years time.
Statement in full -
Minister requests History to be given special core status
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (Tuesday October 1) announced that he has requested History to be given a special core status in the Framework for Junior Cycle.
Minister McHugh took the decision after giving full consideration to a review of the optional status of History under the new Framework for Junior Cycle which was carried out by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).
Last November the NCCA was asked to carry out the review and filed a report to the Minister in July.
The Minister will request the support of the NCCA in devising a new structure for the Junior Cycle Framework which includes History as a special core status.
Minister McHugh has already requested the development of a Young Historians’ Competition and is seeking support from education partners to establish it along with a range of other initiatives to promote History at primary and post-primary level.
Minister McHugh said: “I am hugely grateful to the NCCA Council and all its members for the work they have done to review the place of History in the Junior Cycle. The report was comprehensive and put forward a strong case.
“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.
“I am seeking the support of the NCCA to examine how best that can be achieved and their expertise to design a special core status for History within the new Junior Cycle to meet the request.”
A new specification for the subject was introduced to schools in September 2018, as part of the rollout of the Junior Cycle Framework.
Prior to the introduction of the new Framework, History was a mandatory subject in approximately half of post-primary schools, although around nine out of ten students across post-primary took the History examination at Junior Cycle.
Of the 21 subjects being offered under the Framework, three of these, Mathematics, English and Irish, are mandatory, with the other 18 being optional.
Minister McHugh added: “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.
“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.”
The NCCA Report can be accessed HERE