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Leaving Cert is most priceless and worthless piece of paper

Dermot Bolger


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Changing world: Michelle O’Kelly, principal of Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore, Dublin, and Leaving Cert student Georgiana Teslaru, part of the Tech2Students campaign aimed at closing the digital divide by donating laptops to students in DEIS schools. Photo: Mark Condren

Changing world: Michelle O’Kelly, principal of Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore, Dublin, and Leaving Cert student Georgiana Teslaru, part of the Tech2Students campaign aimed at closing the digital divide by donating laptops to students in DEIS schools. Photo: Mark Condren

Changing world: Michelle O’Kelly, principal of Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore, Dublin, and Leaving Cert student Georgiana Teslaru, part of the Tech2Students campaign aimed at closing the digital divide by donating laptops to students in DEIS schools. Photo: Mark Condren

During the past year one question was repeatedly asked in Irish classrooms, because it is asked every year: what poet would appear on the Leaving Cert paper? Would it be Paul Durcan or the late Eavan Boland?

Until recently nobody proffered the theory that, for most students (some may physically sit the exam at a future date) no poet would come up in 2020, because circumstances have decreed the Leaving Cert is being decided by 'calculated grades'.

So let me nominate a different poet laureate for this year's Leaving Cert students, who would normally be preparing for the exhausting exams that should be the culmination of their secondary education. Because if ever a line summed up how circumstances have robbed the class of 2020 of so many special moments, it was written by John Lennon, on a record just before his death, where he told his son: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."