Education Minister John O’Down to face teachers union NASUWT today over computer glitches in primary schools

A TEACHERS union will tell Educaion Minister John O’Down today to suspended computer based assessment in schools.

The NASUWT union says is there should be a temporary log off from the system because of major technical problems and also because of the excessive workload pressures it is causing teachers.

It will also be calling for suspension of the CCEA cross-curricular assessments in communication and maths which were introduced for pupils in Keys Stages 1, 2 and 3 last September.

The NASUWT believes the assessments are creating an unnecessary bureaucratic burden on schools and undermining the professionalism of teachers. Union members are already taking industrial action to combat the excessive workload this is causing.

General secretary Chris Keates said: “This computer based assessment has been plagued with technical problems. Teachers are reporting deep concerns about the increased workload caused by the system and stress being placed on pupils.

“We will be asking the Minister to halt and urgently re-examine the process. A more detailed pilot needs to be undertaken and completed to allow full and rigorous evaluation. Teachers have already been wrestling with the adverse impact of the CCEA assessments.

“So severe were the problems that NASUWT members have been taking industrial action to combat the excessively bureaucratic paper trail the process demands.”

NASUWT Northern Ireland organiser Seamus Searson said: “The NASUWT will continue to act to protect members from the excessive workload and bureaucracy which is undermining their professionalism and diverting them from focusing on meeting the needs of pupils.

“Teachers need to be able to focus on their important role of teaching and leading and managing teaching and learning, not on producing masses of paperwork which have no benefit to pupils’ educational progress.”

On Wednesday, officials from the Department of Education said the problem with the computers will be fixed.

However, DUP MLA Mervyn Storey, chairma of the Stormont Education Committee, likened the computer problems in schools to the Ulster Bank fiasco.

One education source said: “Maybe the Department should have had roll out programme of the computers before going live.



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