Statement from the Executive of the Irish Agriculture Science Teachers Association
Re: 2021 Leaving Certificate.
The IASTA Executive feels that the current plans for the examination of the new Agricultural Science course cannot be carried out due to Covid-19.
- Other subjects have received many changes to their curriculum, for example, the removal of experiments from the Construction Studies coursework. We also feel that the mandatory experiments should be removed due to challenges of using a laboratory in this time of Covid-19.
- We, the teachers, and our students have lost, on average, 15% of the teaching year due to Covid-19, therefore we are calling for a wide variety of questions in the Leaving Certificate to allow for the strong possibility that some topics may not be covered due to loss of class time.
- Our teachers are also in the dark about what the exam paper will look like, as this is the first year of examination of the new course. We are calling for sample papers to be released as a matter of urgency.
- Finally, the major stumbling block is the IIS (Individual Investigative Study), which as it stands we feel cannot be completed. Firstly the IIS brief was late in being released, putting both teachers and students on the back foot. The Brief was promised in September 2019, and did not arrive till late December 2019. The IIS is to be completed over a two year period. The training was also slow to come. Covid-19 then brought training to a halt. Covid-19 has resulted in many students not being able to collect data for their IIS due to the lockdown and lack of access to farms, laboratories and school resources.
We are calling for the IIS to be reviewed and contingency to be made due to lost time and due to restrictions caused by Covid-19 especially with regard to access to labs.
We are now seeking a meeting with NCCA, State Examinations Commission and the Department of Education due to lack of engagement with IASTA, a key stakeholder in formulating the changes to this year’s curriculum.
For further information on this contact, Johnny Gleeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.