The Government’s handling of the Leaving Cert exams has been shambolic.
As Martina Devlin stated in last Saturday’s Irish Independent (‘Why abandoning the Leaving Cert is the wrong decision at the wrong time’, May 9), “it smacks of inept planning in his department and a minister bowing to pressure”, in reference to Education Minister Joe McHugh.
However, what is really sobering is Ms Devlin’s statement that in Britain, predicted grades “have a 16pc accuracy rate . . . in three-quarters of cases, teachers think their students are going to earn a higher mark”.
I can well believe this. It is nearly 40 years since I did my Leaving Cert. In my Inter Cert, I got 10 honours and was fourth in my year of around 70 students. My Leaving Cert was very disappointing. I took six honours subjects and while I passed them all, only two were honours.
The Department of Education has stated that Junior Cert results will not be taken into account in devising the grades for each student.
This may be so, but most teachers would be aware of a student’s past performance in State exams and this has to influence their thinking.
You do not solve one catastrophe by creating another. The only fair way to solve the Leaving Cert conundrum is to bring every school year back as they left, ie sixth class pupils return to sixth class, this year’s Leaving Cert students return to Leaving Cert year.
With the growing possibility of schools not resuming in September anyway, at least in the traditional way, this idea is not as ludicrous as it might first appear. This would restore the education system to its previously high reputation.
Salthill, Co Galway
Blood sports should be kept in lockdown permanently
I enjoyed reading Caroline O’Doherty’s article ‘Respite for wildlife as nature thrives during our lockdown’ (Irish Independent, May 11).
Our coronavirus woes have indeed given wildlife a break from the downside of human interaction with the natural environment. Unfortunately, that respite will inevitably end when the wheels of industry creak back into motion and life returns to what we think of as normal for our species.
I can’t help thinking of what will happen to many of the foxes that have been frolicking in the May sunshine if and when the hunting season arrives later this year. These wild dogs of the countryside could again find themselves running from packs of hounds egged on by humans.
I hope the incoming government finally tackles these calculated ‘recreational’ assaults on wildlife that should have no place in the 20th century, let alone the 21st.
Blood sports should be in permanent lockdown.
Callan, Co Kilkenny
Scotland and Wales getting insight into Irish frustrations
I am at a genuine loss to make sense of Boris Johnson’s new slogan of ‘stay alert, control the virus, save lives’.
Maybe Boris has been watching too many war movies as he does love to compare himself to Churchill, but it’s not as if Covid-19 manifests itself as the Luftwaffe in the skies.
Commentators have suggested that the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have diverged from No 10, but it is clearly the other way round.
For us here on the island of Ireland, we should be demanding that the island is treated as one epidemiological entity/zone.
As the UK and EU negotiators work out the details of the Irish protocol of the EU withdrawal agreement, they are treating the island of Ireland as a single epidemiological entity. They are doing this to ensure all food products coming in comply with EU safety standards, as well as animals and plants.
So why is this same logic not applied to the coronavirus? There is no issue of constitutional change. But as the response to living with Covid-19 progresses, having two different approaches in a small country with an open border can only spell disaster.
That feeling of frustration is something that is today shared by the people of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Malahide Road, Dublin 17
Nuns knew all about social distancing long before virus
In the early 1960s, when I and some male schoolmates attended the very first co-ed classes in French in St Mary’s Secondary School in Swinford, the nuns insisted most firmly that we went to the very back of the classroom and not to sit anywhere near the female students.
This was our first taste of social distancing some 60 years ago.
Swinford, Co Mayo