Number choosing to sit Irish falls by 2pc
THE number taking Irish as a Leaving Certificate subject continues to fall.
This year, only 77pc of candidates sat a paper in the national subject, which is mandatory to study but which is not mandatory to be examined in.
It is down from 79pc two years ago.
The decline is attributed to more exemptions from the study of Irish for students with special needs and those who have come to live in Ireland from abroad.
The Leaving Cert results issued to over 57,000 candidates today follow a broadly similar pattern to recent years.
For a number of years, there was evidence of so-called grade inflation, but that has stabilised.
This year, 10 candidates share the honours at the top of the results table, with a glowing eight A1s each.
At higher level, art remained the toughest subject in which to score an A, with only 5pc of candidates achieving at the top, compared with 15.6pc in biology, 9.9pc in business and 11.5pc in history. Of the 57,532 candidates who sat the exam this year, 37,955 did the traditional Leaving Cert; 16,386 the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme; and 3,191 followed the alternative Leaving Certificate Applied course.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn sent congratulations to the students who, he said, had a host of opportunities at university, Institutes of Technology, colleges, post-Leaving Certificate courses and further education and training.
"Economic conditions are difficult, so it is more important than ever that our school leavers equip themselves with the skills needed for the 21st century," he said.
He appealed to students who were disappointed with their results to seriously consider repeating their exams. "If this one year gives you the opportunity to attack the exams afresh and achieve the third level course you have your heart set on, then it is certainly worth it," he said.
School managers and teachers' unions all joined in the congratulations to the candidates.
Joanne Richardson, chief executive of the American Chamber of Commerce, which represents US multinationals in Ireland, said she was surprised at the drop in students studying accounting and the relatively poor results for higher level business and economic students.
"Irish students have traditionally performed well in business subjects which have been popular career choices," she said.