Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has called on the Minister for Education to listen to the concerns of Junior Cert students and act swiftly to ensure that they are not being left behind, particularly those who will leave school this year.
Speaking today, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“The past 12 months have been enormously difficult for all school students. The focus in recent weeks has been on the Leaving Cert classes, but the Minister must not forget that Junior Cert students also have concerns that need to be addressed.
“This year group have been working towards their Junior Cycle for a number of years now. It is not good enough to just say that the exams are cancelled, with no recognition of the work they have done and are continuing to do towards their qualification.
“Junior Cert students deserve the chance to finish what they started, and to fully complete their Junior Cycle course. They must be granted this achievement, and it must be recognised within the National Framework.
“It will also be essential that the Minister puts in place proper certification for the young people who will leave school this year after their Junior Cycle.
“Last month, I learned that many students who left school after their Junior Cert last year were being denied access to apprenticeships because of the Minister’s failure to provide them with state certification of completion of their Junior Cycle course.
“The Minister only put in place an interim letter of confirmation after continued pressure from Sinn Féin for her to do so.
“It is welcomed that the Minister listened to Sinn Féin and acted to prevent these young people from being denied access to apprenticeship opportunities through no fault of their own. However, there can’t be a repeat of this rigmarole again this year.
“The Minister needs to put in the work now, to make sure that Junior Cert students who will leave school this year can move on with their lives and careers, and are not left waiting around for the next stage in their lives to begin due to her dillydallying.”