ON Thursday 22 January Ireland’s secondary teachers went on strike. More actions are planned.
They are fighting to defend the integrity and impartiality of the Junior Cert against government plans to make them mark their own students’ exams.
This would not increase the workload of already hard pressed teachers but also introduce the element of possibility of bias and even pressures towards corruption.
It is also the thin end of the wedge of bringing the market and consumer competition into education as schools are pushed to compete for ‘customers’ on the basis of exam results.
The Government and some of the media will, of course, attack striking teachers for damaging students’ education.
In reality it is teachers who are defending public education in the face of a Government determined to extend neoliberal policies into the post-primary education system.