SENATOR John Whelan has slammed claims by charity Friends of the Elderly to scrap transition year in schools across the country, stating that the transition year programme when run well is “a most useful and constructive part of the current curriculum.”
Senator Whelan said that the second level syllabus is already too exam focussed and in dire need of reform. “Removing the more broad based educational elements such as TY would be a terrible mistake. Transition year, when properly structured and applied, leads to an enhancement of life skills, a broader learning opportunity, work experience, exposure to more subject choices and cultivates an aptitude for better career choices in later life.”
He told the Leinster Express that too many students are finishing second level at 17 years of age as it is and are often forced into hasty third level and career choices. “In my view elements of TY should be broadened out into the mainstream curriculum prior to the Leaving Certificate so that as many young adults as possible are leaving school with experience in some fundamental life skills as being able to drive; operate a bank account; learn how to swim and be taught coping skills in order to better handle the pressures and demands of everyday life”.