The Leaving Cert during the COVID 19 pandemic

  1. How has covid-19  and the closure of school impacted you as an LC student?

Like many of my friends, I have struggled to find motivation while working at home since March 12. While every effort is being made by my school to ensure we’re getting classes etc, it took some time and we lost weeks of class time that we will not get back. This has caused a lot of stress amongst many of us, stress that has been unfairly added to by prolonging 6th year until the “end of July or august” when the leaving cert is now scheduled to begin.

2. WHAT DO YOU THINK SO FAR OF THE RESPONSE FROM THE DEP. OF EDUCATION?

Again, like many of my peers I have been really disappointed and angered by the Department of Education’s response so far. Even before the announcement to postpone the LC, despite 49% of LC students voting to use predicated grading instead, the lack of clarity for weeks on end was a slap in the face to sixth years. Many people look back on sixth year as that of the most stressful in their lives, and this stress was increased immensely for us as we were left with little resources, clarity or support. The announcement to postpone the LC was promised to give us clarity – yet we are still awaiting a date to work towards, it is unbelievable. The Department of Education has let down Leaving Cert students across the country. We as young people feel we aren’t being listened to whatsoever and that is really disheartening.

3. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN TO THE LC THIS YEAR?

Personally, I am a supporter of some sort of predicated grading. I think that it would be difficult and new to everyone, but we are in unprecedented times so a new approach is required. Perhaps an option to sit the Leaving Cert in august if you are unhappy with your predicated grades should be explored. A no detriment policy could also be adopted here. Overall, I think the postponement is the government’s way of showing their lack of care towards sixth years. We cannot and should not have to sit through a prolonged sixth year full of stress as well as a late summer leaving cert and late college starts. It is unacceptable.

There are many people who are worried about potential issues with predicted grading. As someone who missed over two months of sixth year due to illness, I have my worries too. But, the stress that three extra months of sixth year is putting on the physical and mental health of sixth year students is unnecessary and dangerous. The postponement of these exams was the wrong decision.

4. WHAT IS THE FAIREST WAY TO TREAT LC STUDENTS DURING THIS CRISIS?

I think that Leaving Cert. students need more clarity at this stressful time. We understand the whole world is in a frenzy and people are dying, we are not trying to take away from that. We just need someone to explain what’s going to happen with one of the most important times of our lives, it’s understandable! Online, Leaving Cert. students are coming together and expressing their disappointment and frustration with the situation. There are some who have already done their LC who say we can’t complain, we are teenagers in a tough situation and that’s what’s going to happen regardless. All we are asking for is support and clarity, to be listened to.

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