Letters: Too much pressure on students to do well in Leaving Cert
Success in the Leaving Cert exams doesn’t guarantee happiness
Published 23/06/2014 | 02:30
I recently had my first experience of the infamous Leaving Certificate examination, sat by more than 53,000 students this year. Thankfully, I wasn't one of them. I took the less daunting and arguably more comfortable chair outside the examination centre.
For the duration of the exams I was like a fly on the wall, better known as an exam attendant. I got to experience the emotional roller-coaster that is the Leaving Certificate firsthand minus the stress and nerves.
I witnessed the many highs and lows, tears and tantrums and all that accompanies the much dreaded and highly anticipated two-and-a-half weeks of exams. Sitting idly outside a classroom of forlorn and bewildered students, I had lots of time to contemplate just about every aspect of life. One thing said by an exam candidate particularly struck me. She described the Leaving Cert as “the most important two weeks of your entire life”.
An over-exaggeration without a doubt. But why is there so much stress, pressure and hype surrounding the exams? I began to think that among those students are the future doctors, politicians, waitresses, retailers, artists, scientists and parents of the next generation. In society there will be a place for all of them regardless of their Leaving Cert grades. The students who emerge with the best results won't necessarily be the most successful or even the happiest in life. Maybe Jackie Lavin has a point – we definitely don't learn all we need to know in college or school. So why is there still so much made of the Leaving Cert?
As Einstein once said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
CAMPAIGNING MUST CONTINUE
The untimely death of Gerard Conlon should remind us all how important it is that we allow politicians to make representations on behalf of prisoners, be they guilty or not.
I am reminded of the role of former British Labour MP Chris Mullen who did such outstanding work for the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six that brought international attention to these cases.
One should never forget the words of Lord Denning in summing up in the appeal of the Birmingham Six when he said that if what the appellants were saying was true it "would be an appalling vista".
While some people do not like what Niall Collins TD or others do for prisoners, it is their duty to continue this work.
CLONDALKIN, DUBLIN 22
STRUGGLING WITH AUSTERITY
It would be interesting to find out how many letters were written by Eamon O Cuiv or Niall Collins on behalf of those struggling through the harsh austerity measures.
Are there any letters written for homeowners overburdened with unsustainable mortgages, or huge electricity or heating bills these past few years? Is there any written representation for business owners facing closure, or workers facing redundancy or wage cuts? Were there letters written to the HSE when medical cards were being so casually cancelled for families and people with disabilities?
TRALEE, CO KERRY.
I am currently enduring a summer cough, and note that Curly Wee (by coincidence) these days is seeking out a cure for the common cold.
Should he be successful and let us in on the secret, I for one promise never to eat another rasher.
EU POWERS WANT IT BOTH WAYS
Tax harmonisation is the next threat by the powers-that-be in Europe to keep us under their thumbs – specifically, Ireland's low rate of corporation tax (12.5pc).
Ireland can't compete with the manufacturing might of Germany, France, Italy or Sweden (cars, pharmaceuticals, aeronautics, washing machines, weapons and industrial infrastructure), but it can compete in attracting foreign investment through its corporate tax laws.
But that's not good enough for the big boys. They want it both ways. They set the parameters which suit their banks and bondholders, giving other member states easy access to the cash and credit which fuels the demand for the big boys' manufactured goods. At the same time they ask for protection for their own unsecured bondholders and demand that banking debt be taken on by our citizens as sovereign national debt.
Seems like double jeopardy to me.
Besides, it reminds me of the biblical story when David's jealousy got the better of him. Read all about it in the Second Book of Samuel, where he got rid of an innocent man to cover his own crimes.
MOUNTRATH, CO LAOIS
ON A HIDING TO NOTHING
Five million Scots will note that in the World Cup, Italy (population 61 million) and England (population 53 million) have been seen off by Uruguay (population 3.3 million) and Costa Rica (population 4.5 million) .
DR JOHN DOHERTY
GAOTH DOBHAIR, CO DONEGAL
SAMBA PARTY STILL TO KICK OFF
I am still waiting to see some sizzle from Brazil in the World Cup. Instead of fluid samba soccer we see leaden-footed caution.
This is supposed to be a sporting carnival, not a square dance.
DALKEY, CO DUBLIN
KORAN'S TRUE MESSAGE
Imam Ibrahim Ahmad Noonan writes: "Is Islam an ideology of hate, evil, and teachings of 'kill'?
The answer is no." (Irish Independent, June 18). He fails, however, to explain that the pattern of violence and aggressive disregard for human suffering is consistent with some Koran teachings.
The Koran, for example, makes a distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims as well as establishing a hierarchy of relative worth.
It suggests that Islam is not about universal brotherhood, but about the brotherhood of believers.
The Koran also plainly tells Muslims that they are a chosen race, while those of other religions are "perverted transgressors".
The role of non-believers is subordinate to the position of Muslims.
Those who would resist Islamic rule are oppressed until they acknowledge their inferior status by converting to Islam or by paying a religious poll tax.
There is absolutely no other religion system that draws such sharp distinction between its own members and others outside the fold. David Walsh
ADDRESS WITH EDITOR
FIGHT THEM ON THE BEACHES
I have the good fortune to be back in Ireland, and I made my way out to beautiful Sandycove in south Dublin.
As the sun shone and children splashed about I could not help but wonder how bereft of sandy beaches our city shoreline is. I cannot imagine any other European capital making so little civic use of such a unique and stunning coastline.
True, we do not always enjoy Mediterranean sunshine, but families should be able to avail of more amenities along the shore instead of being packed into a tight corner of the coast like sardines.
Dublin and USA