ASTI Rejects Proposed Junior Cert Reform.

ASTI members have rejected junior cycle reform while TUI members have voted in favour of the proposed changes by the Department of Education.

Members of the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland voted 55% against and 45% in favour of the proposals.

It constitutes a major setback to the Government plans for the reforms.

The union had issued no recommendation to members either to accept or reject the proposals.

Meanwhile, the Teachers Union of Ireland has accepted the proposals.

The TUI ballot result was 69% in favour of the reforms, 31% against, turnout was 60%

Plans by former minister for education Ruairi Quinn to introduce school-based assessment for the Junior Certificate triggered a major battle with the teachers’ unions.

The unions favoured independent State certification and adamantly opposed the idea of teachers having to assess their own students.

Eventually compromise proposals emerged permitting some school-based assessment, but also retaining State evaluation.

The ASTI leadership did not issue a recommendation either for or against.

However, today’s ballot result of 55-45% shows the enduring depth of the antipathy among the 18,000 strong ASTI.

Two big issues now arise – how will the Department of Education react to the ballot result, and will the ASTI’s next step involve industrial action.

Commenting after the results Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said she welcomed the “strong endorsement for the agreed programme for reform by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland.

“However, the decision by 55% of ASTI members who voted to reject the agreed proposals is deeply disappointing.

“That said, I note that the ASTI intends to engage with its members in relation to outstanding concerns.

“Over the coming period I will consult with other education stakeholders, including students, parents and management bodies.

“It is unfortunate that in the long negotiation on junior cycle reform that their [the students] voice has often been lost in the debate.  Their interests will be to the forefront of my thinking on the way forward in implementing junior cycle reform in the coming weeks”, she said.