Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills

Leaving Certificate Reform: Discussion with School Management Bodies

Mr. Paddy Flood:

I am happy to comment on the reform and link with the junior cycle and the skills that are needed for the future. Digital skills are important to being a citizen. Mr. Irwin alluded to the ability to use the most basic tools to tell fake news from real news, and to analyse data that are relevant from data that are not. Central to that, in addition to what Mr. Irwin said, is safety and being safe online and as a digital citizen. We are finding a lot of the stresses and strains that young people are exposed to today come from the digital environment. Our philosophy across all schools is not bury our heads in the sand about this, but to educate and work with people to be digital citizens who are safe.

On the question of the 2021 leaving certificate, we welcome the fact that the leaving certificate took place. We commend all those in the education system who made this possible for students. We have concerns that a long-term system must have more robust moderation in place and gives support to both learners and teachers. I still think it is regrettable that at the end of the process, most of the fuss tended to be around points, who was getting into college and whether it served the purpose of getting to higher education. This does not fully reflect the wide range of pathways that are available to young people to progress through all of the options that are available to them in our system.


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