Independent TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, explains why he believes the government’s decision to “barge ahead” with traditional Leaving Cert exams in 2022 is “out of touch”.
Despite numerous calls from students and local representatives alike in recent weeks, the Minister for Education Norma Foley has ignored pleas to give students the option of a hybrid exam system.
I met and spoke with numerous students, parents, and teachers on this matter who favoured a hybrid exam system.
I even visited students in St Cuan’s College in Castleblakeney, Co. Galway, in recent weeks to discuss their views on how to deal with Leaving Certificate exams this year.
All of the students present put their points across passionately, noting that all they wanted was the choice. This is the same one that was afforded to their school friends who were in the exam year in 2021.
They held the demonstration to appeal to their public representatives to voice their concerns within the Dáil.
Leaving Cert 2022
The recent results of a national survey of current Leaving Certificate students showed that almost 70% wished to avail of the hybrid exam system this year.
I, along with many other TDs from around the country, raised this with Minister Foley in the Dáil.
We called on her to make the necessary decisions to put the hybrid exam system in place.
Despite all of these efforts, this government and minister have chosen to ignore the wishes of the majority of students.
The impact this is having on these students’ mental health is unbelievable.
It is extraordinary that Minister Foley and her government colleagues can sit and defend the stance taken on this year’s leaving cert.
I can’t place much faith in the argument that almost one in four of this year’s Leaving Cert students had not sat their Junior Cert exams as a result of Covid-related disruptions.
Surely there would be enough evidence to calculate a grade from all of the class exams and tests they carried out in the last two years, as well as the mock exams?
These students have had their entire leaving cert cycle interrupted by Covid.
Yet, they are not being offered the same system available to students last year. It is totally unacceptable.