About the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU)
The Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) came into existence in 1972 through the sponsorship of three agencies namely the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (CDVEC) represented by Jeremiah Sheehan CEO, Trinity College Dublin represented by Prof Val Rice and Brian Powell and the Dept. of Education (DES) represented by the assistant secretary Sean O Connor.
On 7th April 1972 the Unit’s Steering Committee held its first meeting adopting the provisions of the “Proposal for the Joint Curriculum Development Project for Junior Cycle Post-Primary Courses”. During 1972 the project was approved by the CDVEC committee in February, by the Board and Council of Trinity College in May and finally by the Dept. of Education in December with a remit to extend the work to include non CDVEC schools.
In 1978 the CDU was reaffirmed as a sub-committee of the CDVEC/University of Dublin Joint Liaison Council. The CDVEC/University of Dublin Joint Liaison Council was formed in 1976 to enable the University to give degree status to a number of courses within the five CDVEC third level colleges. In 1987/8 the DES formally agreed to the allocation of two heads of staff which with some ancillary provision. Other activity and staffing was subsequently organised on a self-financing basis. The CDVEC was incorporated into the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) in July 2013. In the financial year 2015 the CDU had an expenditure of €3.2 million.
CDU working definition of education
Arising from nearly forty-five years’ experience of education developments the CDU provisionally operates from the working definition that education is a lifelong process of developing and realising human potential through the exploration of what it means to be human. Given our social nature and the sensation of our experiences through hand, heart and head, education deepens our understanding of the nature and quality of the relationships we have with ourselves, with others, and with the natural and constructed world. Through play, exploration, cultural, artistic and scientific expression of these interconnecting relationships we create meaning, sustain ourselves, elucidate truth, shape our identities, cultivate an ethical and moral outlook, develop skills, build structures and, carry out social, political and economic activities. The quality of these relationships intensely impacts on our wellbeing, profoundly effects learning, deeply influences the development, nurturing and flourishing of the human person and of human life and directly impinges on other living beings and on the planet itself.
The role of the CDU
In responding to the needs of the CDETB and the broader educational community, the CDU has a long history of supporting projects involving social justice issues including citizenship, sustainability, equality, development, peace and reconciliation, intercultural understanding, democracy, human rights, ethics and transparency as well as programmes involving inclusion, access and participation that address both the causes and effects of educational disadvantage. In response to international agreements and national policies the CDU assists the DES in realising its objectives through developing resources, initiating projects and where appropriate provide representation on committees e.g. the Council of Europe (CoE) Education for Democratic Citizenship/ Human Rights Education (EDC/HRE) and the CoE Ethics and Transparency in Education ETINED. The CDU also has entered into partnership with Concern Worldwide and Gorta Self Help Africa as lead agency to enable the Irish Aid funded post primary development education programme WorldWise Global Schools (WWGS).
The CDU assists the education sector in responding to its’ Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) by supporting and participating in initiatives that deepen the integration of education within the broader community. Currently the CDU has established links with the Young Social Innovators (YSI), ECO/UNESCO, Encountering the Arts Ireland (ETAI), Poetry Ireland, Dublin City Council, Irish Aid, other GOs and NGOs. The process includes enhancing North/South cooperation with educational organisations in Northern Ireland by participation in the EU PEACE funded projects arising from the Good Friday/ Belfast agreement and/or by joining in mutual partnership in other international projects.