THE cancellation of Junior and Leaving Cert state examinations would be extremely difficult for students, according to a Cork-based principal.
Principal of Coláiste Éamann Rís Aaron Wolfe said exam cancellations are a cause for particular concern among Leaving Cert students who have applied for college places through the CAO.
He was speaking after Seanad Éireann candidate Peter Finnegan called on the government to cancel or defer state and university examinations.
Mr Wolfe said that although a solution could be created for Junior Cert students, he does not know how college places would be decided for Leaving Cert students.
He said that if examinations were to go ahead in an exam hall setting, it would be “unfair” on students who will have missed out on a large period of schooling.
“Even if they run a Leaving Cert, it’s very unfair on candidates because they’ve missed so much school, and it’s not giving them a chance,” he said.
He said that sitting examinations electronically would raise the question of the integrity of the candidate.
Coláiste Éamann Rís is not due to reopen before Easter which will have an effect on the oral and practical examinations that usually take place before the Easter break.
“We’re closed, and I’d say every teacher in the country isn’t expecting to be back before Easter — because, why would we come back for a week and then to have the two weeks following off? It would undo all the good. Is it even realistic that we’ll even be back by May?
“So what’s going to happen with the orals, what’s going to happen with the practical exams?,” he said.
He emphasised the pressure on parents who are now in a position of teaching their children from home. Although the school is providing online classes through Google Classroom, Mr Wolfe said it is limiting because not all students have access to a PC, laptop, or even wifi.
“It is very limiting because if you don’t understand, you need someone to explain it to you. You need your teacher to come down to your desk and to talk you through and show you exactly. It’s very hard to do that remotely.
“Some families don’t have wifi still so you’ve some students who have no way of doing their work online. They have to do it through their books and some parents can’t help them,” he said.