Deirdre Clune, M.E.P. was present at Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh on Friday last, March 10th to officially launch a new Leaving Certificate subject, Politics and Society. Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh is the only Gaelcholáiste in the country to offer the subject and one of only a small number of schools in Limerick.  Deirdre Clune, M.E.P. told students and those gathered at the launch that she was “envious” of them having the opportunity to study Politics at second level. She spoke about the period of unprecedented change which we face at present due to global events such as Brexit, the election of Donald Trump in the USA and the upcoming French elections.  Senator Maria Byrne, spoke on behalf of the Board of Management at Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh and praised the school for its continued innovation and willingness to pursue new challenges.

 

During the academic year 2015/2016, invitations were invited from the NCCA from schools who were interested in being among the first to offer a new Leaving Certificate subject, Politics and Society, to students to begin in September 2016.  Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh was successful in its application and the first cohort of students will be examined in this subject in June 2018.  Nine Fifth- Year students are currently undertaking this subject and have engaged in a meaningful way with it.

Students Aoife Harrington and Shane Byrne spoke about the debates they have in the Politics classroom, describing it as being very different to any subject they have studied before. Teacher Clodagh de Bhailís spoke of the “Independent Learners” who have undertaken the subject and have embraced the challenge with passion.

Politics and Society aims to develop the learner’s capacity to engage in reflective and active citizenship, informed by the insights and skills of social and political sciences.

Deputy Principal, Sinéad Ni Chiardha, said that the “Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh community is delighted that the new subject Politics and Society is available at the college. We are delighted with the percentage of students who have decided to study the new subject and feel that the demand will remain steady in years to come.” Sinéad said that “Politics and Society is a wonderful subject for students to pursue as it equips them with many of the skills necessary for Third Level including Critical Thinking, undertaking independent research and indeed not being reliant on a textbook.”

During the academic year 2015/2016, invitations were invited from the NCCA from schools who were interested in being among the first to offer a new Leaving Certificate subject, Politics and Society to students to begin in September 2016.  Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh was successful in its application and is the only Gaelcholáiste in the country currently offering this subject to its Fifth Year students. The first cohort of students will be examined in this subject in June 2018.

Nine Fifth Year students are currently undertaking this subject and have engaged in a meaningful way with it. Three teachers are qualified to, and expressed an interest in, teaching the subject and Ms. Clodagh de Bhailís has been timetabled as the first teacher to teach the subject at Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh.

The changing local, national and global environment presents many challenges and opportunities for young people. It also requires of them a range of skills, knowledge, values and attitudes so that they can achieve their goals in this environment. These include:

  • skills in critically assessing information and its sources and in gathering and processing information
  • intercultural skills to enable them to communicate and work with people from diverse backgrounds in employment and in other settings
  • an understanding of the processes of globalisation and individualisation and their opportunities and challenges
  • the imagination to think creatively and to propose new and alternative futures
  • a willingness to play an active role in their society
  • a disposition towards taking responsibility for the outcomes of their actions.

Drawing in particular on the skills of critical thinking and imagination and on the content knowledge of sociology, anthropology, political studies and philosophy, Politics and Society can, in collaboration with students’ learning outside school, in home and community contexts, provide an opportunity for students to develop the above skills, knowledge, values and attitudes. The distinctive analytical frame of reference of these subjects can also help to develop skills of critical analysis that enable people to make an informed, considered and effective contribution to their society. The content of these subjects can support the development of an understanding of equality, inequality and diversity in a range of areas of human life, including gender, ethnicity and social class. In this way, Politics and Society can contribute to the development of active and participatory citizenship through education. It can play a key role in informing people as to how social and political institutions at local, national, European, and global level operate, and of the importance of political and social institutions in shaping our society.

The subject focuses on four key areas: Power and decision making, Active Citizenship, Human Rights and Responsibilities, Globalisation and Localisation.

This subject interests students with an interest in careers in law, politics, sociology, human rights, journalism, government administration, equality.

Politics and Society (P&S) is less fact based and more discussion based, informed by theory and data/evidence

Through active and participatory learning and through the experience of learning in the wider community, Politics and Society can enable young people to develop the skills appropriate for active and thoughtful participation in the life of their communities.