28 May 2022

Laois TD demands a clear plan for Leaving Cert students who have endured an 'unbearable time'

coronavirus covid-19

Leaving Cert clarirty and extensive plan must be prioritised

A clear plan for the Leaving Cert must be prepared for students who have had to go through an 'unbearable' and 'unfair' time due to the Covid-19 emergency, according to Laois-Offaly's Sinn Féin TD.

Deputy Brian Stanley wants action to follow the Government's delay to July or August. No new dates have been announced.

“The decision to delay the Leaving Cert must now be followed by preparations to ensure a written Leaving Cert can safely be delivered on a new date.

 “As important as the State exams clearly are the interests of public health have to be the first priority. What we now need is clarity and a plan. We now do not yet have an actual date for a leaving cert, which is unprecedented,” he said.

The TD said the welfare of students is important.

“For students, the ongoing stress and anxiety continues, and it has been unbearable at a time when anxiety is already high. It has been deeply unfair on them. “What needs to happen now is major preparation, and it needs the whole education sector to be involved.

The TD believes the extent of preparation will be exceptional.

"Because of the likelihood of continued health restrictions, staging this year's exams will be a bigger logistical operation than in previous years. For example, schools will need to be deep cleaned,” he said

“Even to try and deliver a written Leaving Cert safely in July or August, it cannot be the normal leaving cert, because it seems unlikely we will be fully back to normal as a society by then. from now.

“We will now need a much greater number of venues, of supervisors, specific provisions for scribes, and so on.

“Any and all of these contingency plans should be published, and students should have the opportunity to know and prepare for what they will be dealing with this summer.

“There must be provision for students in vulnerable categories to take these exams alone if necessary.

"The fees for the exams cost €116 per child, at a time when families who do not qualify for the waiver are out of work, and really struggling. It should be deferred, and some form of expanded waiver considered for a later date," he concluded.

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