NAPD response to Accenture graduate skills report.

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‘The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) recognises the findings of Accenture Ireland’s Learning to Lead report published earlier today and, more specifically, its call to action for a stronger approach to how Government, industry, and educators work together to shape a society and education system fit for the ‘opportunities of tomorrow’.

‘The report calls for greater alignment between the education sector and industry, something that the NAPD is categorically in favour of and which is consistent with the Government’s National Skills Strategy 2025. By extension, we proactively embrace the opportunity for our school leaders to learn from leaders in other sectors.  In the last 12 months alone, we have collaborated with Microsoft, Apple, Google, Northern Trust, Pfizer, and the Department of Defence, among others.

‘We recognise that education needs to constantly evolve and respond to the changing needs of our people, society, and economy.

‘To this end, the NAPD has consistently stated that the current Leaving Certificate and senior cycle curriculum is no longer fit for purpose and is still viewed in the narrow terms of filling places in third-level institutions through rote learning. By extension, it is failing to give students the tools they need for lifelong learning, intellectual curiosity, a prosperous career, and a fulfilled life.

‘Our research further supports this position. 93% of students feel the Leaving Certificate and senior cycle curriculum fails to prepare them for the working world and 78% believe it fails to prepare them for third level.  The majority of teachers and principals agree. 

‘The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) commenced a review of senior cycle education in late 2016. Its goal was to evolve senior cycle education and to shape a curriculum that meets the needs of all learners for years to come. NAPD supports the NCCA in its senior cycle reform agenda. 

‘Critically, the proposed inclusion of practical coursework assessment will help to encourage more independent learning and allow students to indulge their own curiosity and develop greater soft skills without having their learning dictated by a single exam.

‘The NAPD will continue to encourage greater collaboration with industry and welcome contributions on the theme of second-level education, and more specifically, senior cycle reform.’ 

Alan Mongey is President of the NAPD

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