Calls for the cancellation of the Leaving Certificate examinations have been met with mixed reaction in Cork.
Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Mick Barry called for the cancellation of the Leaving Cert examinations, saying that this year's Leaving Cert students will be the first cohort of students in the history of the State to face major disruption of their classroom studies in both years of their final exams cycle.
However, speaking on RTÉ Six One News on Wednesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said “no one wants to go back to the scenario of predicted grades again this year”, saying that it is “far too early now to be making decisions of that kind”.
Richard Terry, a history and maths teacher at St Colman's College in Fermoy, said that the cancellation of examinations “is definitely not something that should happen”.
He said that the mock examination, although “an extremely useful tool” in preparation for the final exams, “is not a vital part” of the syllabus but said that Leaving Certificate exams should go ahead.
“I think a lot of the calls for cancelling the Leaving Cert seems to be sparked off by what has happened in the UK and the North where they've cancelled their exams but the reality is that they have a very different third level matriculation system, they have a very different way of collecting candidates for third level than ours.
“They're already used to doing calculated grades so the switch to predicted grades last year was easier for them whereas we don't have that tradition so they are two very different systems,” he explained.
Mr Terry said that we “cannot do the calculated grades this year” following the “mishandling of the algorithm and mistakes which robbed loads of students of grades they should have been given” last year.
“From a personal point of view, with the year and a half that we’ve had I cannot give a grade to any of my students with any degree of confidence,” he said.
Bishopstown Community School student, Cormac O’Mahony, said that there would be “more ground” for cancelling the Leaving Cert examinations if the mocks were to be cancelled, but said that the cancellation of the mocks would be “a big hit to students as they are the preparation”.
“We’ve already done the Junior Cert which is kind of like it but it's not the same and without that test to see where you're at and where you need to work on, it's going to affect how people perform in June.
“There's a lot of controversy around cancelling the Leaving Cert itself because it's not just the next three years of your life, it's the next decade of your life really is what it’s going to decide, including what you do in college and what you do after so there's a lot riding on the next few months. Cancelling it and just doing estimated grades, there's a lot of controversy around that,” he said.
Mr Terry said that if any changes are to be made to the Leaving Cert, that it should also include the engagement and contribution of third level and that secondary level cannot be put in the same position as it was last year.