Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has urged the Minister for Education to reconsider her decision to return to a ‘traditional’ Leaving Cert exam this year.
Speaking during oral questions with the Minister this evening, the Cork South Central TD said:
“Leaving Cert students are incredibly hurt; indeed they are angry. They feel that their voice has been totally disregarded by the Minister and her government.
“They have shared their stories – some deeply personal – of their Leaving Cert experience so far. Of contracting Covid, of losing family members to Covid, of mental health struggles, of significant anxiety over not having covered their courses, and of the pressure to make up for all of the lost teaching time.
“They made it clear that the only way to ensure fairness was a choice between calculated grades and written exams, and they hoped that the Minister would centre students’ voices in the debate over an exam, which has the ability to significantly alter their futures.
“Instead, last night, not even directly through the Minister but instead via leaks in the media, they discovered that their voices had not been listened to, that they had been ignored by government.
“Traditional written exams are not fair. Additional choice to papers is not good enough.
“We know many students are far behind where they should be. We know other students are not.
“Covid has affected different schools and different students, and different teachers in different subjects, in different ways. Additional choice within the traditional exam papers cannot fairly compensate for that, it cannot level this playing field.
“The only way to ensure fairness is to offer them the choice between calculated grades and written exams.
“I urge the Minister for Education to work with Sinn Féin to overcome the challenges and to provide this choice to the Class of 2022.”