During the early part of 2020, when the severity of Covid-19 and the impact it would have on our economy and society became suddenly apparent, one of the most urgent and debated questions was with regard to the viability of the 2020 Leaving Cert exam.
The necessity to reform the Leaving Cert has been an argument reiterated by experts and stakeholders within the field of education for a number of years.
While respective views on the type of reform which should be implemented to the Leaving Cert may vary, the blatant and undisputed reality is that the Leaving Cert as a process demands that students can regurgitate an excessive amount of information over an unacceptably short period of time. This happens in an environment designed to be memory-centred, time-restrictive and high-pressured.
As a process of examination unchanged for decades, the Leaving Cert exam is the remaining feature of our outdated education system of the 20th century.
As the 2020 Leaving Cert drew closer, an overwhelming number of students and parents demanded that the Leaving Cert be cancelled and replaced with a predicted grades system. In taking a decision to opt for predicted grades, the then-government recognised that it was not feasible for students to prepare under circumstances where Covid-19 was becoming increasingly prevalent across Ireland.
Since the introduction of predicted grades, it is not certain whether second-level schools will be in a position to commit to remaining open throughout the school term, or even whether they will reopen in September.
What is certain, is that digital learning is not an appropriate or universally applicable alternative to class-based learning.
The Leaving Cert class of 2021 will effectively be playing catch-up, given that substantial aspects of their education stalled when schools closed. Students will return to an environment where it is virtually impossible to maintain social distancing, while the number of daily Covid-19 cases continues to fluctuate and there is no vaccine. Is there not an argument that the predicted grades system should be extended to the class of 2021?
Cillian Boggan (student)
St Peter’s College, Wexford
Words fail me as Government at risk of turning into a joke
What on earth is going on with ‘welfare policing’ at airports and stopping people’s payments? Furthermore, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan is now getting eight ‘advisers’ for his office, which to my mind is a disgrace. And as for increasing those three junior ministerial salaries and bringing in a new law?
Words fail me.
The ‘welfare police’ are not pursuing those in jobs about their finances – just the unemployed and the 400,000 claiming Covid support payments. It’s good to encourage people to seek a job, but where are the jobs?
Mostly in the Dáil it would seem.
It infringes on human rights to stigmatise and question people who are unemployed and having a break.
The Government is at risk of turning into a joke. And where is the Taoiseach’s voice in all of this?
Address with editor
Sterling effort on Liverpool insert, but don’t forget Raheem
Your special insert (Irish Independent, July 25) on the 203 players signed over 30 years by Liverpool left off one big name – Raheem Sterling, signed from QPR.
According to Wikipedia: “Sterling was signed by Liverpool from the academy at Queens Park Rangers in February 2010 by then academy director Frank McParland, and Rafael Benítez, for an initial fee of £450,000, with the possibility of rising up to £2m depending on how many appearances he made for the first team”. Other reports said up to £5m.
Born December 8, 1994 in Jamaica, he moved to London at the age of five.
Ennis, Co Clare
Over-70s were ‘cocooned’ as we still have much to offer
In reply to NNE Colgan’s letter (Irish Independent, July 25), I do not agree with the opinion expressed by the writer regarding cocooning for over-70s.
Looking at the positives for this decision, my view on the reason for it is that we have contributed so much to society that we are now worth minding in our retirement years.
My interpretation of “being boxed away”, as stated in the letter, is because we are precious and still have much to offer.
I really enjoyed all the pampering which my family showered on me during those weeks.
The only downside was the pounds piled on while “cocooning”, but that will be rectified with a nice few walks!
Ferrybank, Co Waterford