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Irish unveil curriculum

IT may have taken almost a decade to come to fruition, but Ireland's revised primary curriculum has been universally hailed .

Teachers, parents, unions and officals have all welcomed the changes. Part of the reason the revision took so long was the extraordinary degree of consultation. The main primary teachers' union and the National Parents Council, were on all the committees associated with the revisions

The production of England's national curriculum was comapratively trifling, taking a mere two years.

All schools will close for six days this year to prepare for the changes, to be phased in over the next few years.

The new curriculum stresses child-centred learning with more emphasis on skills. There is greater focus on problem-solving in maths, while history and geograpy use the pupil's own environment as the starting point.

Three new subjects are being introduced: science; educational drama; and social, personal and health education, which includes relationships and sex education.

Education minister Micheal Martin has ruled out UK-style national tests.

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