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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 25 November 2020


# second-level - Wednesday 15 January, 2020

From The42 3 Kerry teams into Munster semi-finals as their dominance continues Kingdom Come

3 Kerry teams into Munster semi-finals as their dominance continues

St Brendan’s College, Tralee CBS and Pobalscoil Siabh Luachra all progressed in the Corn Uí Mhuirí today.

# second-level - Saturday 30 March, 2019

From The42 St. Michael’s Enniskillen reach third Hogan Cup final in history with win over St. Colman’s Second-Level

St. Michael’s Enniskillen reach third Hogan Cup final in history with win over St. Colman’s

The Fermanagh school powered to a six-point victory.

# second-level - Monday 25 April, 2016

Irish is considered among the hardest and least interesting subjects in school

More and more students are getting exemptions.

# second-level - Thursday 29 January, 2015

Opinion: Can we really trust that Junior Cycle reform isn't linked to the austerity agenda?

We live in a time of austerity – and education is being targeted along with other elements of society.

# second-level - Monday 11 August, 2014

Poll: Is the CAO points system fair? Your Say This post contains a poll

Poll: Is the CAO points system fair?

Further proposals for a revamp of the Leaving Certificate have been reported this morning.

# second-level - Sunday 27 April, 2014

42,000 people to take part in first Tech Week Ireland event

The event aims to encourage both primary and secondary school students to consider a career in IT and technology.

# second-level - Thursday 17 April, 2014

Majority of teachers say schools won't be able to cope with new Junior Cycle

Schools don’t have the capacity to deal with the changes due to be brought in this September, teachers said in a new survey.

# second-level - Thursday 15 August, 2013

Column: The Leaving Cert poorly prepares students for the realities they now face

The Leaving Cert is an outdated, crude and brutal instrument that fails to prepare young people for either the realities of third level education or modern life in general, writes Paul Rowe.

# second-level - Wednesday 15 August, 2012

'You deserve to celebrate your achievements' - Minister congratulates LC students

Leaving Cert results are being issued to over 55,800 students around Ireland today.

# second-level - Tuesday 14 August, 2012

Need advice on your Leaving Cert results?

Guidance counsellors will be manning the 2012 Exam Helpline to provide information for students, parents and teachers.

# second-level - Wednesday 23 May, 2012

Department to examine rehiring of retired primary school teachers

Several retired teachers who were recently rehired by primary schools were taken on for more than 50 days.

# second-level - Thursday 29 December, 2011

Education minister welcomes students' report on Junior Cert reform

The Irish Second Level Student’s Union sent a report to Education and Skills Minister, Ruairí Quin, on the proposed changes to the current Junior Certificate examination system.

# second-level - Wednesday 21 September, 2011

Leaving Cert study 'leaves students stressed and with narrow education'

The system has come under fire in a wide-ranging new study which says many teachers simply ‘cover the course’.

# second-level - Sunday 3 July, 2011

Leaving Cert should be "blown up"

Former head of UCD’s business schools adds his voice to criticism of ‘parrot-learning’ Leaving Certificate.

# second-level - Thursday 16 June, 2011

Surprise! Secondary teachers to face unannounced inspections

Currently teachers receive advance warning of an inspector’s visit, but this is set to change.

# second-level - Friday 20 August, 2010

THOUGH OVER 58,000 PEOPLE are still only getting to grips with their Leaving Cert results, there’s a chance that in the future there might be no such thing as a ‘points race’ – in fact, there may not even be such a thing as the Leaving Cert.

Havelock Academy in Grimsby, which only got its first set of A-level results yesterday, has decided it’s scrapping the British equivalent of Ireland’s Leaving Certificate in favour of the International Baccalaureate, or IB, believing that it is a better-suited award to give to people on the verge of college.

The school’s headmaster, Nick O’Sullivan, says the IB would “bring us a richness and flexibility which we can apply across the school at all levels.”

The IB system is governed by a spinoff of UNESCO, the United Nations’ educational and cultural organisation. Though based in Switzerland, and – as one might expect – reasonably well-rounded and neutral in its curricula.

It’s more typically used in schools with students from a global background, and who might intend to study elsewhere after their second-level tuition – such as in Brussels, where the children of European diplomats attend schools that award the IB.

It has a global admiring, too: Time magazine, discussing ways of bringing American schools into the new millennium, described it as “a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognised by universities around the world”. George W Bush had supported extending the number of schools offering the IB programme.

In the UK, meanwhile, the IB was championed by Tony Blair: his government gave funding so that every local authority in the country could allow at least one institution within their jurisdictions to offer it.

In Ireland, it doesn’t have quite so many admirers, but with the move to harmonise third-level qualifications across Europe – as part of the Bologna Process, which has 47 participating countries, including Ireland – gathering pace and slowly reaching fruition, it would be logical that the next step would be harmonisation of the second-level curriculum.

British students coming to colleges in Ireland are often stunned at how many subjects Irish students sit in the Leaving – while most Irish take seven subjects, with some sitting eight or nine, the average Briton takes three A-levels, or four if they’re pushing it.

In the US, meanwhile, many colleges measure entry requirements in an SAT score measured almost entirely on mathematics and English. In Germany, the Abitur is more similar to the Leaving Cert in terms of its breadth; in France, the bac likewise. Either way, the aims of Bologna – to harmonise higher education and thus make student mobility easier – are fundamentally hampered by the mish-mash of entry systems.

Thus, in the future, the second-level students of Europe may all find themselves sitting a standardised second-level syllabus, just as they currently find their third-level degrees being harmonised across the continent. The era of the Leaving Cert may be at an end quicker than we realise.