Sunday 28 May 2017

Northern politics feature in two similar papers

Leaving Certificate History

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

IN a momentous week for Northern Ireland, with the report of the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday in 1972, Leaving Certificate history students would have been delighted that the Sunningdale Agreement and the power sharing executive of 1973-74 turned up yesterday. Many students had hoped for it.

The same topic was used at both higher and ordinary level, although the documents were different.

At higher level there was an extract from a memoir written by Brian Faulkner, chief executive of the power-sharing executive, and from a book by Merlyn Rees, the British government's secretary of state for Northern Ireland, writing about that time.

At ordinary level, the texts were from Austin Currie, an SDLP member of the power sharing executive, and former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald, who, as foreign minister played a leading role in Sunningdale. But according to teacher Michael Stokes of the ASTI and Castlecomer Community School, Co Kilkenny, the difference between the questions for the two levels was marginal.

"The higher level questions were straightforward, and the ordinary level questions were not that much easier," he said.

Mr Stokes described other questions on the well-received paper as also being straightforward . "The higher level paper was very easy and there were no complaints," he said.

Sean Delap of Colaiste Iosagain, Stillorgan, Co Dublin and the Institute of Education, agreed that the document study questions for higher level were not complicated.

He thought higher level essay questions were good, allowing students plenty of scope to present their knowledge. Most students welcomed the question on one of the more popular sections of the course, Dictatorship and Democracy .

Overall, students that have done the work will get rewarded, after "a fair and reasonable paper", he said.

Mr Delap added that ordinary level continued the pattern of recent years: it was a balanced and reasonable examination of candidates' knowledge and ability at this level and questions were well worded and presented.

Questions about the boxer Muhammad Ali and the successes and failures of former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey featured, as did the popular topic of the Montgomery bus boycott in the US.

Irish Independent

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