The Department of Education made the decision to cancel all Leaving Cert and Junior Cert practical and oral exams, giving all students full marks.
When Leo Varadker delivered the news that schools would be closed until March 29th, a lot of parents, teachers and students raised concerns about what this would mean for the Junior and Leaving Certificate. Missing a lot of the school year would surely have an effect on the state exams, but students were left in the dark about what exactly this would be.
Today it was announced that the Leaving and Junior Cert oral and practical exams would be cancelled, and all students due to participate would be given full marks.
According to The Irish Times, Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh also confirmed "changes to deadlines for students to complete project and coursework in a number of subjects from Friday March 20th to Friday April 24th."
Aoife, Music Teacher from Dublin, said:
"I think it's natural that there will be a mixed reaction to the news. On one hand I'm sure some students are breathing a sigh of relief, but I'm sure a lot of others are experiencing disappointment at not having the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills that they have acquired over the past number of years.
A huge amount of work, resilience, and preparation goes into the practicals and orals and it is only natural that students will feel that it was all a waste and didn't count for anything, but nothing could be further from the truth! Speaking in terms of my own subject (Music) my 3rd years have built on performance skills and acquired a new sense of confidence that they can take with them right through their lives and especially if they choose Music as a LC subject.
I know it's very cliche but it really is about the journey and not the destination. There is definitely a question over the whole fairness question of this decision - I know that within my own class there was a wide range of abilities and grades. Also there is the option in LC Music to major in performance which means that for these students their practical is worth 50% of their overall exam, and so these students are already guaranteed 50%.
However, in a situation like this there is no easy or straightforward answer and I think everyone will agree with it was always going to be impossible for the DES and the SEC to come up with a solution that everyone would have been 100% happy with."
Ciara a French Teacher from Dublin, had this to say:
I am both relieved and disappointed following this mornings announcement re the cancellation of oral exams for leaving cert students. I am relieved for students as they automatically get the marks therefore have increased chances of getting a higher grade, but am disappointed that they can no longer show off the language they have learned for the last six years in school.
What do you think?