The Minister for Education Joe McHugh has sought to temper expectations around a draft report concerning the place of History in the Junior Cycle in secondary school, by reiterating its draft status.
There had been outrage over the decision to have history downgraded to being a non-mandatory subject for students in the Junior Cert cycle. As a result of the backlash, Minister Joe McHugh ordered a review to be carried out by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.
A copy of the draft report - obtained by RTÉ News - has not advised for any change to be made to the subject's current status as 'optional'. Without making any particular recommendation for changing the status of history, the report finished by stating that "changes to any single component or subject, such as History, has implications for the framework as a whole." This seems to be an implicit suggestion to not change its status.
However, in the wake of the leak, Minister McHugh, while speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, sought to buy the report breathing room by clarifying that it was still "just a draft". With this draft version of the report to be discussed by members of the NCCA in early May, he said that we would need to wait until after these deliberations before we could expect to see a full report.
He stated that History is still a popular subject, even as an optional one, with it being taken by some 90% of Junior Cycle students. However, the evident fear is that this number could, and almost certainly will, drop over time as we move further away from a time when it was mandatory and its perception as being central to the curriculum diminishes.