Sunday 11 December 2016

'Poor dears' attitude won't help students

Making too big a deal of the Leaving Cert causes students more worry in the long run, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 12/06/2011 | 05:00

WHATEVER the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy might say, there are few things more guaranteed to induce panic than being told by everyone from the Education Minister to the president of the Association of Secondary Teachers not to panic. That's about as likely to help one relax as the Irish form of foreplay, which famously goes: "Brace yourself, Bridget".

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The one consolation is that Irish schoolchildren probably didn't notice Ruari Quinn's words of encouragement. Mary Hanafin once visited my children's school when she was Education Minister, and now, as far as they're concerned, Ms Hanafin is still Education Minister and always will be. Even if they had heard this year's message, most of the recipients of Mr Quinn's pep talk would surely just have wondered why Captain Bird's Eye was taking such an interest in their exam results.

Which isn't to say that the Labour grandee wasn't right. Children shouldn't panic about their Junior or Leaving Cert exams. One, because it doesn't matter how well they do, there's not going to be any jobs for them anyway. Might as well just have another alcopop and chill out. Two, because the only people who are still denying that exams have become ridiculously easy in recent years are teachers -- and who listens to them?

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