Losing our history lessons

 

Sir, – On behalf of the History Teachers’ Association of Ireland I would like to endorse the comments made by Diarmaid Ferriter (“President is right – history should be core Junior Cert subject”, Opinion, May 5th).

It is a major cause of concern to us as teachers that students will be denied the opportunity to study the rich legacy of their own history as well as the history other cultures and civilisations.

It is such an irony that the introduction of the new Junior Cycle in 2011 coincided with the launch of the State’s commemoration of the “Decade of Centenaries”. National and international events have been marked with pomp, ceremony and impassioned speeches by our politicians stating the importance of key personalities and events that shaped and lead to the foundation of our State.

At the same time, those same politicians are implementing the new Junior Cycle course which included the decision to drop history from the core curriculum and making it optional for students beginning their secondary school education.

To quote our President, “to be without historical training, the careful and necessary capability to filter and critically interpret a variety of sources is to leave citizens desperately ill-equipped to confront a world in which information is increasingly disseminated without historical perspective or even regard for the truth.”

Bravo President Higgins on your enlightened comments on the importance of history in our educational system and shame on those who chose to remove it and place on the margins of the school curriculum. – Yours, etc,

DEIRDRE Mac MATHÚNA,

President, History Teachers’

Association of Ireland,

Donnybrook, Dublin 4.