Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills

Leaving Certificate Reform: Discussion (Resumed)

Photo of Jim O'CallaghanJim O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay South, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister and the witnesses for appearing before us. The strengths of the leaving certificate also present its weaknesses. I will ask the Minister a question in respect of that. The leaving certificate is a good examination for identifying academic excellent. A boy or girl in secondary school who wants to become a doctor knows that he or she has to excel academically. Such children know they have to do excellently in the leaving certificate and once they do that, they have a pathway, literally, to the age of 65. Unfortunately, that same pathway is not available to the child who is not academically excellent or, alternatively, the child who is vocationally gifted. Do we need to categorise and identify earlier the different gifts that children have when they are in secondary school? It appears that by the time they get to the junior certificate, they are on the academic route and unless we expose them at that stage to opportunities or avenues aside from that, necessarily they will not achieve their potential. I would like to hear what the Minister has to say in response to that general issue.


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