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State oral exams must be held during school term time to avoid unnecessary hassle for families – Lombard

19th April 2024 - Senator Tim Lombard

Minister for Education Norma Foley and the State Examinations Commission (SEC) must revert to holding oral exams for Leaving Certificate Students during term time, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Tim Lombard of Cork said the practice of holding the oral exams during a time intended to be school holidays was a measure introduced on an exceptional basis during Covid.

“This week when announcing the phased return of normal Leaving Cert outcomes the Minister herself stated the importance of returning to pre-covid arrangements. All the while this obsolete measure remains in place,” Senator Lombard said.

“I’ve had students, parents and teachers all raise this with me over the last few weeks as students sitting their Leaving Certificate this June prepare for their oral exams. All of them want to see a return to oral exams being held during term time.

“You have to wonder who exactly is in favour of holding orals during the Easter holidays. It’s not teachers, it’s not parents and it’s definitely not students.

“The only people who seem to be in favour of continuing this obsolete measure is Minister Foley and the SEC.

“There are so many things wrong with the current scenario. Some students have had to do their Irish oral on a Saturday and turn around and do their French oral the following day. That’s just not fair.

“Why are the SEC causing additional stress and worry at an already tough time for students?

“Transport is a key issue here. Holding important exams during holidays and on weekends when school transport isn’t running is crazy. It may seem like a small thing to some, but getting the student in to the exam on time is another worry and hassle for families who really don’t need more on their plate.

“Additionally, when oral exams are held outside of term time, students lose out on the support system of being able to talk to their teacher before or after the oral exam. I’ve heard cases of teachers that actually go in during the holiday term to provide that support and I must give credit to them, but let’s be honest they shouldn’t be forced to do that.

“Minister Foley needs to stop this madness and revert to holding orals during term time and on separate weeks for Irish and modern languages. This is a simple fix and must be addressed for Leaving Cert 2025.”


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