A Kildare Councillor has said that clarity is needed over the Leaving Certificate (LC) exams for this year.
Labour (LP) Cllr Angela Feeney said the government needs to take action now and provide clarity to young people on this year’s Leaving Cert.
Her comments follow just two days after the Children's Ombudsman, Dr Niall Muldoon, expressed his frustration over the lack of clarity surrounding this year's LC
Cllr Feeney said that her comments also follow the publication of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) survey showing two-thirds of exam students support a hybrid model for state exams.
She said: "I am calling on the Minister and Department to hear the concerns of students and commence preparations for a hybrid state examination model for 2022."
"We in the LP have been campaigning on this issue for over a month and have received an overwhelming response from exam students.
The Maynooth politician explained: "Students have experienced a huge amount of disruption over the last two years, with rolling school closures and huge changes in how they are taught how they learn.
The loss of in person teaching in fifth year combined with the interruptions since September due to teachers not being available and the impact of substitutions has had an effect that cannot be ignored.
Cllr Feeney said that it is clear that there’s "huge engagement" from the wider education community on this issue, with many pointing to the roll out of the hybrid leaving cert in 2021 by the Dept: "We’ve done it before and we can do it again.
"It would be wrong-headed for the Minister to go back to ‘normal’ given that the education experience for students is still being negatively impacted by the pandemic.
"Frankly, a decision on the format of the exams should have been made by now.
"However, LP is committed to keeping the pressure on the Minister on behalf of students and bringing certainty sooner rather than later: none of us want to be in this position, but it is only fair to give students clarity now, and ensure that for the next few months there is a defined path in place for Leaving Cert students."
She also claimed that LP continues to hear anecdotal evidence from higher education institutions that this year’s first years are "performing much better than had been anticipated", given their experience of home studying.
"Institutions are highlighting the fundamental resilience of our young people to adapt to new ways of learning and engaging with material.
"In light of this, it’s time to have a conversation about our education system and reform how we assess our students.
"We need an education system that works for our young people; one that develops skills and pathways to a range of options for graduates from apprentices to PLCs to university... we must be guided by our young people in this process," Cllr Feeney concluded.
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