Friday 28 October 2016

Follow your own path, whatever the exam

Published 03/06/2015 | 02:30

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan: 'the State exams are but one pathway'
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan: 'the State exams are but one pathway'

It has been said of examinations that they are not fair because those who study always have an unfair advantage. That may be true, but it is important for the 119,000 students who sit down to do their Leaving and Junior Certificates today to keep a sense of perspective.

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Trying is always enough, and if you try for long enough there will be nothing to stop you.

As Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan says today in her good luck message to candidates "the State exams are but one pathway".

Thankfully, there are several other routes to making the most of one's talents, and not all of them necessarily wind their way through the halls of academe.

That said, it is, however, heartening to see that this year there has been a record number planning to sit higher level maths. This is down to the enlightened introduction of 25 CAO bonus points for those who achieve a minimum grade D in the Leaving Cert 'honours' paper.

But whatever level one takes, it is worth remembering that there are myriad courses to cater for the aptitudes and interests of everyone.

Thankfully, with the recovery in the economy well under way, the employment outlook is also brighter than it has been for some years.

So take heart, opportunities really are developing. And whatever trepidation students all around the country may be feeling, spare a thought for the students reported on today doing their Leaving Cert on the Mediterranean island of Malta, having fled from war-torn Libya.

Whatever the circumstances one sits down to today, bear in mind that exams are a part of life, but not your whole life.

As the American lecturer and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson put it: "No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself."

Emerson firmly believed that respect for the student was the only thing that really mattered in education and that each student held the key to their own secret potential.

It's time to make a call on phone charges

Research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has previously found that Ireland can be as much as 42pc more expensive for mobile phone services than other countries.

Today, we publish an analysis showing that Irish customers are being stung with the highest charge in Europe. According to the study, charges here can be 50pc more than the EU average.

The news only gets worse, as the cost of calls, texts and data combined are six times dearer than the lowest rates in the EU.

You may well ask: why? We are, according to researchers, forking out €100 more a year than our EU brethren because of "deliberate confusion" over complex pricing plans, coupled with a lack of competition.

The industry disputes the findings but the bills tell their own story. We have various watchdogs, regulators and a Minister for Communications, yet the charges keep changing.

The only certainty seems to be a series of wrong numbers every time one imagines what one's bill ought to be.

Irish Independent

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