The student's view: Don't scrap it, but make it count!
On my first day back after receiving my Junior Cert results, the first thing that every teacher said was: "What results did you get? Great, now let's forget about that and move on to more important things."
This should not be the way that teachers look at the Junior Cert after the results arrive.
A more appropriate line would be: "What results did you get? Great, so that's 10% of your Leaving Cert in the bag already!"
It would just create a better attitude towards the exams.
So why do I think that the exams should continue? I think that, with the right sort of reform, the Junior Cert could count towards the Leaving Cert, and admission to third level.
Students would be encouraged to take the exam more seriously if grades in the Junior Cert counted towards a college course, or if students had to pass a subject at Junior Cert in order to take it at Higher Level in the Leaving Cert.
Abolishing the Junior Cert would result in a huge reform in the overall system of secondary schooling. The Leaving Cert courses would have to be changed for every subject. There would have to be some sort of academic course to fill in the three-year gap left by the Junior Cert -- possibly resulting in the Leaving Cert course being spread out over five or six years.
If we were to use the Junior Cert as the essential exam -- without which you couldn't go on to get a job or do the Leaving Cert -- students would take it seriously and study properly.
The best preparation possible for the Leaving Cert is to do an exam that is almost as important.