Harris highlights importance of 'absolute clarity' for Leaving Cert students

A meeting will take place today to discuss the Leaving Certificate.
Harris highlights importance of 'absolute clarity' for Leaving Cert students

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris comments come as students held a number of protests across the State on Wednesday calling for a hybrid Leaving Cert.

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has confirmed that a meeting will take place on Thursday to discuss the Leaving Certificate.

His comments come as students held a number of protests across the State on Wednesday calling for a hybrid Leaving Cert.

Students have said they want a choice between predicted grades and exams due to the disruption that has been caused by the pandemic.

His comments were made during a virtual public meeting held by TD Colm Burke and Senator Jerry Buttimer on Wednesday evening.

The Minister said that the Department of Education will host a meeting on Thursday with all of the stakeholders, all of the representatives, including representatives of second-level students.

“I hope progress can be made at that meeting. I know that last year the success if you like was that all the stakeholders were brought together including the voice of the students and people managed to work a way forward,” he said.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister Harris said: “Students for the Leaving Cert are always getting a bit anxious around this time of the year, of course, but that’s even more anxious and more stressful now because there's lots of questions being raised about what will the Leaving Cert look like this year.

“And I’m also conscious as I visit secondary schools that students are really concerned about the impact that the pandemic has had on their senior cycle.

“They’re concerned about the fact that they missed out time. I think they experienced two lockdowns in terms of education moving online for a period of time and I am conscious that there are different views.

“If I spoke to a number of teachers they’d give me one view, if I spoke to some principals they might give me another and if I spoke to students they might give me another and that’s okay. In a democracy, it’s okay to have different views.

What isn’t okay though is to have uncertainty and the stress and the worry that that causes.

He said that it is really important “that absolute clarity and certainty” is brought to the matter in the next number of days.

“It’s very important that there is a recognition that this year’s Leaving Cert students have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and that they need to be accommodated and it's really important that there's engagement,” he said.

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