The proposed senior cycle (leaving certificate) reform must include a change to the grading system to include students’ involvement in sports, extra-curricular activities and social causes, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Joe O’Reilly has reiterated his views that 15pc of total leaving certificate points are attributed to students’ involvement in non-traditional academic subjects.
The Cavan-Monaghan politician, who is a former teacher, said the proposals from the Education Department to overhaul the State examination grading system is a welcome development.
“This follows on from the good work of my Fine Gael colleagues and previous Education Ministers Joe McHugh and Richard Bruton in the overall transformation of the senior State exam. It is a very contentious issue, not just for students but for teachers and families also and it is time it was dealt with,” Senator O’Reilly said.
“The current leaving cert system does not prepare our students for life beyond the classroom. It is an archaic system that has to be completely transformed. Basing a young person’s future on 100pc of their final academic grades is madness and should be consigned to our history books.
“I note that under the proposals this week, leaving certificate subjects will have assessment components additional to the conventional written examination to spread the assessment load for students and therefore contribute to maintaining positive student wellbeing. But it must be more than that.
“Our definition of education has to be broadened to reflect the world around us and the lives we lead. I believe 15% of a student’s Leaving Cert points should come from their involvement in three key areas; sports, extra-curricular activities, and social causes to include volunteering and participation in civic duties.
“If anything, our experiences through the two-year pandemic enlightened us so much. The education system must encompass students’ passions for sports, music, volunteering, and other activities which contribute to their rounded personal development.
“We value our sports, culture, volunteer ethos and communities. During Covid lockdowns, we realised what was important to us and how much we cherished something when we could not enjoy it.
“Let’s not forget that aspect and ensure it is an integral part of the new reformed senior cycle,” Senator O’Reilly said.