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23 May 2022

Children's Ombudsman frustrated over lack of clarity on 2022 Leaving Cert exams

Children's Ombudsman frustrated over lack of clarity on 2022 Leaving Cert exams

Children's Ombudsman frustrated over lack of clarity on 2022 Leaving Cert exams

The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, has expressed frustration over the lack of clarity surrounding this year's Leaving Certificate examinations.

He said: “It is frustrating that, just five months out from the beginning of the exam period, and as we enter our third calendar year of this pandemic, we are once again debating the way forward for the Leaving Certificate students. It is imperative that students are given certainty as soon as possible on the plans for this year’s exam.

"I am fully supportive of the ISSU and the students who are saying that they are not happy with the current plans for Leaving Certificate 2022. 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," he added.

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Dr Muldoon went on to say that "the current Leaving Certificate students have suffered enormously over the course of the pandemic and despite the huge efforts of all the Principals and teachers in keeping the schools open, their education has been hampered since September by forced isolation, sickness and teacher absences due to Covid.

"The disadvantage of missing school, teacher absences and no online tuition was not equally distributed and it is impossible to know which students are most affected. Therefore, it is vital that the Department of Education and the education partners come together to create a solution that takes these losses into account for all Leaving Certificate students.

"It is not fair or right to force children who have had two years of disrupted education to perform to their best with small adaptations to the traditional Leaving Certificate format. The disruption of the past two years, as well as the high level of student and teacher absenteeism since schools reopened in September, cannot be ignored. The adjustments made in the examination papers in August did not foresee the level of disruption that would come from a new Covid variant like Omicron and that needs to be catered for now.

"The ISSU has called for a hybrid model and this option has to be investigated. Is there a way to adapt the model used over the past two years to address the concerns of the education partners? All solution-focused options that are in the best interests of the children involved must be considered," he concluded.

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