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Time for grown-ups to help students who face exams

Letters to the Editor


A solution for taking the Leaving and Junior Cert exams this year has still to be found.

A solution for taking the Leaving and Junior Cert exams this year has still to be found.

A solution for taking the Leaving and Junior Cert exams this year has still to be found.

They had little to celebrate on St Valentine’s Day. In fact, they’ve had little love and affection during the past year. Their education has been a bit like Lanigan’s Ball – in school again, out again! They’ve had no social life, recreation nor sport worth mentioning. They spend their days in the attic struggling with remote learning for an undefined objective.

It’s about time the grown-ups stopped playing havoc with the mental health of 120,000 students and provided them with certainty. It’s time for the powers that be in education to bang their heads together in a locked room and emerge with a proposal that is student-centred and workable.

Timetable the Leaving Cert and Junior Cycle exams for June but with a few modifications. Nobody will object to more choice on an exam paper or a single exam paper in a subject where two is the norm.

At Leaving Cert level, predicted grades can be determined by the teachers over the next few months in a confidential and relaxed manner. Both the ASTI and the TUI did a splendid job in that regard last year.

Billy Ryle

Tralee, Co Kerry

Mediation should replace litigation for citizens’ claims

THERE has been an outcry from Government ministers and other politicians regarding the need for FBD customers to litigate in order to establish their claims. The regulators will “take action” (‘Central Bank chief warns insurers to stop word games and pay up after FBD judgment, Irish Independent, February 12) against insurance companies that do not play valid claims.

The Government, it’s departments and agencies (particularly the HSE) force citizens, with valid claims, to litigate to seek retribution with all the stress and strain litigation entails.

The majority succeed without “admission of negligence” and the legal profession garner huge fees. Can the word games cease and mediation be used in valid claims of citizens against the State and its agencies?

Hugh McDermott

Dromahair, Co Leitrim


Why should I ‘staycation’ where Dubs are resented?

AS I write, I am being treated to the Healy-Raes and Labour’s Duncan Smith shouting at each other across the airwaves. All very amusing stuff.

However, in response to Mr Duncan’s verbal attack on their wealth, Michael and Danny Healy-Rae hit back with the usual “them up in Dublin” response which seems to go down extremely well with the Kerry people.

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Of course, they are entitled to defend themselves but if they are going to constantly dish out this anti-Dublin rhetoric then why, of all the places I could staycation in Ireland, would I want to go to a place where I am apparently resented because I am an Irish man who comes from Dublin?

Anthony McGeough

Dublin 24

ASTI’s grandstanding shows lack of empathy

THE defiant and impetuous behaviour of the ASTI in recent days is not acceptable and must be called out, especially considering the extra level of mental stress it’s actions has foisted on Leaving Certificate students and their parents.

Sadly, it’s not just in recent days the said union has displayed such antagonism during this pandemic. In May of last year, it was notably tardy in coming on board with the grading of the Leaving Certificate, having to make a point of meeting the minister about the matter of “indemnity” which other teaching unions did not make an issue of.

In September, after the Trojan work and dedication of many to get schools reopened, it threatened to ballot on strike action because of the dangers it perceived in being back at school.

Now, within the past week the union has voted to reject the latest public service pay agreement before its high-profile and abrupt quitting of confidential discussions with Education Minister Norma Foley, pertaining to this year’s Leaving Certificate, soon agreeing to rejoin the talks after some self-serving “side dialogue” with the minister.

While it is a perfectly acceptable prerogative for unions to be difficult and truculent in their dealings with employers, the ASTI seems to be especially skilled in rejection and negativity. It’s grandstanding in continuous "no” mode is indicative of a serious lack of empathy, damages the union’s credibility and the standing and reputation of teachers generally.

The ASTI needs to tread very carefully, especially against the backdrop of other professions that continue to confront more severe challenges than its members, with full appreciation of the realities that many of students may come from homes where parents have lost their livelihoods because of the pandemic and the mental health of our young generation is seriously threatened.

Michael Gannon


Online Editors

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