SUBMISSION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION - 17 OCTOBER, 1986
Development Education in Schools.
(a)What is the current position of ‘development education’ in the schools and what subjects or programmes if any, contain elements of ‘development education’?
‘Development education’ has, at present a high profile in second-level schools. The reasons for this situation are as follows:-
(i)‘Development Education’ lends itself to treatment under several different subject headings, in particular, the compulsory junior cycle subjects, History, Geography and Civics; but also under Religious Knowledge, Economics and Economic History. (See Appendix A which gives the sections by subject area in Rules and Programme for Secondary Schools which incorporate or complement ‘development education’).
(ii)Aspects of ‘development education’ are examined regularly in the public examinations, especially in Geography, which guarantees that the subject is done in some considerable depth. (See Appendix B which gives examples of examination questions asked in recent years on the Honours Leaving Certificate Geography paper). Note also the depth and sophistication of these questions).
(iii)Media Studies is offered by many schools as part of Transition Year Courses and Vocational Preparation Training Courses. Media treatment of third world issues is a popular part of many Media Studies courses.
(iv)Submissions from various members of Congood to the Department of Education. For example, as a result of representations from an N.G.O., the Department has allowed a ‘development education’ project to be piloted in a number of schools and is monitoring the projects. (The Food Project).
‘Development Education’ forms part of many Transition Year programmes while in some Vocational Preparation and Training Programmes it is frequently included in the general studies area of the syllabus.
(b)Are submissions made to the Department on ‘development education’ by the NGOs and what effect, if any, have such submissions (or books) had on the inclusion of ‘development education’ in school programmes?
Yes; they have facilitated the introduction of ‘development education’ in schools and in in-service courses.
Because of the presence of ‘development education’ areas in so many parts of the curriculum, there is obviously need and scope for the production of ‘development education’ books and materials from agencies who are authentically engaged in the developing world. Obviously, well-prepared source and resource materials for pupils and teachers facilitates the treatment of ‘development education’ in the school curriculum.
(c)Is there a formal arrangement for NGO’s to make submissions on ‘development education’ to the Department?
Submissions from all organisations are accepted and considered and the appropriate action taken. Projects, with NGO support, are at present being introduced in schools.
(d)Will there be formal links between DESC and the Department of Education and what mechanism will be used for implementing some or all of its recommendations? A Department Inspector has been appointed to liaise between the Department and DESC. As regards implementation of recommendations, evaluation would be the first stage which might be carried out either by the Department’s Curriculum Unit or by the Interim Curriculum and Examinations Board. The Minister, who has ultimate responsibility for curriculum, would be guided by the advice received subsequently.