Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said sixth-year students “deserve a decision” regarding the State examinations as the Department of Education has announced further stakeholder discussions are to take place in the coming days.
The Minister for Education Norma Foley, Department officials and the State Examinations Commission today hosted an online meeting of the advisory group of stakeholders on planning for the 2022 State Examinations.
The group includes students, parents, teachers, school leadership and management bodies, the State Examinations Commission (SEC), the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Department of Education, including the National Educational Psychological Service.
In a statement issued tonight by the Department of Education, it said a number of updates were received from advisory group members, including reports of results from surveys of members which were conducted by certain bodies.
The statement said there was “positive and collaborative engagement” at the meeting today and that the Minister is very aware of the disruption experienced by students who are due to sit State examinations this year.
The Department has committed to continued engagement with all education stakeholders in the short period ahead.
“A date for the next advisory group meeting will be set in the coming days,” the statement added.
“Leaving Cert students are waiting to find out what is happening. They deserve clarity but they haven’t got that today.— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) January 20, 2022
“Sinn Féin will keep supporting the student voice, and will keep up the pressure to ensure choice between accredited grades & written exams.” - @Donnchadhol pic.twitter.com/tGxvZlwRwt
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire expressed disappointment following the outcome of today’s meeting.
“Leaving Cert students deserve clarity. They’ve already endured so much uncertainty.
“It now looks as if Minister Foley is delaying yet again for another week.
“That isn’t good enough. Students deserve a choice.
“They deserve a choice between accredited grades and a written exam and they deserve a decision," he said.
A recently published survey by the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) found that 68 percent of sixth-year students would like to see a hybrid model for State examinations in 2022.
The Ombudsman for Children earlier this week voiced his support for students unhappy with current plans for the exams.
Dr Niall Muldoon said current “small adaptations” to the traditional format were insufficient for children who had experienced “two years of disrupted education” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am fully supportive of the ISSU (Irish Second-level Students' Union) and the students who are saying that they are not happy with the current plans for Leaving Certificate 2022,” he said.
“The students are telling us that the proposed accommodations do not fully address the disruption to education that students have experienced over the past two years. We must listen to what they are saying."
Dr Muldoon said “it is imperative” that students are given certainty as soon as possible on the plans for this year’s exam.
He said the ISSU’s call for a hybrid model “has to be investigated”.