Scope is there to reform the Leaving Cert

17 December 2018

Responding to a report by the ESRI on the Leaving Certificate curriculum, Labour Party Eduction spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has said that there needs to be significant reforms to the Leaving Certificate to alleviate stress on young students.

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“The findings by the ESRI are extremely worrying. Anecdotally, we have known for a long time that the Leaving Cert puts an enormous amount of pressure on young students. Students told the ESRI that the Leaving Cert process put a huge focus on rote learning and has damaged the creativity of many students. 

“The ESRI report compounds a study which was carried out by Dublin City University has found that nearly two-thirds of students found that the Leaving Certificate did not adequately teach them how to think independently. 

“Typically when we talk about the Leaving Certificate, we focus on the points race, student accommodation struggles and college places. We should really be discussing if students feel prepared for further education or indeed the world of work and what scope is available to reform the Leaving Certificate to inspire more independent thought.

“Whether students go on to study at third-level institutions, take up apprenticeships or go straight to work; the ability to make independent judgements is required and if the vast bulk of students feel that they are not equipped to do this then the onus is on the Department of Education and Skills to change that.

“We know subjects like History, Geography and Politics & Society require independent research but these subjects are not available in every school. Perhaps it is time for the Department of Education and Skills and the National Council of Curriculum and Assessment to figure out how to ensure students are prepared for the real world

“It is time for Minister to constructively engage with Irish Second Level Students Union, National Parents’ Council and teachers’ unions with a view to addressing issues raised and to chart a course forward. We all know that the leaving cert is hurting too many of our students.”

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