Katherine Donnelly ('Reforming education isn't as simple as ABC', Irish Independent, July 23) says of the Leaving Cert points system: "While it may be brutal, it is fair".
I have no doubt that she is referring to the widely held view of many people, rather than her own personal view. But I must ask those people -- fair to whom, exactly?
It is certainly fair to those students whose families have the cultural and educational resources to navigate the system.
And probably fair to students whose natural talents happen to include the memory and writing skills necessary to play the Leaving Certificate game or to those who can afford the inevitable grinds.
Is it fair to those whose particular multiple intelligences or skills mean they would do better in a different exam system -- one which tests scientific, team-working or critical thinking skills, rather than the ability to remember content?
Is it fair to teachers who want to live up to their own ideals of encouraging broad, reality-based, holistic learning and the development of life skills -- but who instead end up reducing their teaching to facilitating the practice of exam techniques within classroom walls.
Is it even fair to the universities, which -- rather than being able to select the students who are best suited to the courses on offer -- end up with students who played the Leaving Certificate game so well that they have now forgotten how to analyse, co-operate, and even learn.
The points system is exactly what places the Leaving Certificate in a position of absolute power in schools, limiting the breadth of learning that can take place.
Fair? Certainly not.
Head of Education and Network Development, Educate Together, 8HA Centrepoint Business Park,
Oak Drive, Dublin 12
AFTER listening to RTE's coverage of funding for scientific research, I am left wondering if this funding will go towards lessons in proper speech for some of these researchers?
As scientific research is so handsomely endowed with funding, the least its researchers can do is use grammar properly when speaking on television.
Dr Florence Craven
Maynooth, Co Kildare