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As students wait for answers, the only result so far is uncertainty

Colm O'Rourke


Teachers and students need to hear a properly explained plan for this year's school exams, writes Colm O'Rourke

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MINISTER: Joe McHugh. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

MINISTER: Joe McHugh. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

MINISTER: Joe McHugh. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

The canals in Venice are getting cleaner and clearer. The education waters in Ireland are getting muddier by the day. When the minister decided to abandon the Leaving Cert in June with no other plan in place, there was utter confusion among parents, students and teachers. I was bombarded by people looking for answers. When will the exams begin? What is the story about classes in July? Will school reopen in May or even September? What is happening with the Junior Cert? Will teachers off in June or July or be expected to teach in class or online? What is the plan?

The short answer is there was no plan. Now we are told that the starting gun for the Leaving Cert is being fired on July 29. Nothing about how it will work, supervision, correction, school reopening or anything else. There should have been no announcements without a properly explained plan.

Last week, the confusion continued. The schools will get the Junior Cert papers in September and can do what they like with them but there is not going to be any State certification. It means schools can timetable these exams if they want, and their own teachers can correct them. Two schools beside each other could do the same subject on different days. How long would it take for another school to have the full paper in advance? About 10 minutes. The latest word seems to be that the Junior Cert may not take place at all.