Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 2 November 2021
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills
Leaving Certificate Reform: Discussion (Resumed)
I thank everybody for their contributions so far. The Minister spoke about the climate emergency. It is important to note that it is not the planet that is in danger, but it is us, as a species, who are in danger. We have to put the measures in place to ensure that we survive as a species. It is that serious. There is a moment for us in education across primary, secondary and tertiary. That moment is now and we have got to grab it. We need to be a lot more ambitious about transition year. The suggestions Dr. O'Connor had are excellent, but they need to be throughout school, and not just in transition year. In the GCSEs, for instance, students can do Bitesize. They can be accredited in the UK system. Why not do the same here and look at doing it every single year? School, fundamentally, is a transition. It is not just one year. Let us look at the whole of the schooling system.
Additionally, we should not have the kind of conversation where we talk about academic kids versus non-academic kids. Apprenticeships are not necessarily non-academic. There are all kinds of apprenticeships. Apprenticeships just mean that the person is doing a particular job that requires mentorship.
I would like to address the point that leaving certificate lets down academic kids too. Secondary school lets down gifted children. We talk about giftedness as a special need, but we do not provide the services for that special need. In legislation it is a special need and, yet, what are we doing there? Let us not forget that in the conversation. That goes for some of the universities as well. I know this having done guest lecturing with third level students. The students come into third level feeling bedazzled, even though they are academic children and young people.
Does the Minister have any thoughts around some of those issues? I will come back in with a couple more questions.