THE country's 730 secondary schools will be compelled to publish Leaving Certificate exam results under a Fine Gael-led government, the Irish Independent has learned.
This will allow parents to see how schools are doing in the exam stakes and compare them with one another.
Many will use the information to help decide where to send their children to school.
In a pre-election move which has already angered teacher unions, the party says it will require all schools to publish an annual report which will include details of exam performance.
The report will also outline extra-curricular activities, special needs education, learning support and music or drama activities.
The pledge is included, for the first time, in Fine Gael's education election manifesto which will be published this morning.
Clive Byrne from the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) said he would be disappointed if schools were required to release the information. But he said he would not be surprised if some schools -- even those with very good results -- would refuse to do so, as occurred in the UK.
"It would be like kicking other schools in disadvantaged areas in the teeth," Mr Byrne said.
But the move was defended by Fine Gael, which said the present system of school evaluation in schools was flawed and had not worked to the benefit of either schools or parents.
"Fine Gael believes schools should move to a system of self-evaluation, backed up by a targeted department inspection process.
"Schools would evaluate their own progress year on year and wouldn't just be compared in terms of the number of students going on to third level, which is the case at the moment with the league tables published annually," a spokesman said.
The move angered teacher unions. ASTI general secretary Pat King said league tables of examination results presented a distorted picture of the second-level school system.
"Regardless of how this information is packaged, it will be presented in a crude and incomplete fashion and used to mislead parents into thinking that in order to give their child/children an educational advantage they must gain access to schools at the top of the table," he said.
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