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Universities and colleges scrap all in-person exams taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic

Online exams or rescheduled exams will take place instead.

Image: Shutterstock/ESB Professional

HIGHER AND FURTHER education exams won’t be taking place in examination centres during the Covid-19 emergency, Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor has confirmed.

Written, oral or practical assessments in examination centres will be substituted for other assessment arrangements, with options including online exams, written assignments or rescheduling.

These new assessment arrangements have been communicated to all students who are impacted by the decision. 

Mitchell O’Connor has asked all the institutions to focus on students about to graduate and clearly communicate their plans to students.

“University and college students need clarity on exams and assessments, particularly those in final year, and I would now like to thank all the universities, colleges and institutes of further education that have worked tirelessly over the past number of weeks to ensure alternative arrangements have been put in place.

Importantly, I would like to reassure students that even though alternative arrangements have been put in place, standards will be upheld. We can all be confident that qualifications achieved this year will be valued and regarded exactly as in any other year.

Students in universities across the country have been calling for a ‘no detriment’ policy, which would mean that any assessment or exam taken during the pandemic would not be detrimental to a student’s average before the crisis began. 

Almost 6,000 people have signed a petition supporting such a policy for University College Cork, while a similar petition for DCU has attracted 3,300 signatures at the time of writing, and one for University of Limerick has 2,860 supporters. 

Process

Various organisations were involved in the decision, including the Education and Training Boards Ireland, the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), and our other sectoral stakeholders for their tireless dedication in recent days and weeks.

“I must commend them on their flexibility in finding new ways to provide for students at this time. I can reassure students and their parents that high standards are being maintained and a clear pathway to qualification is still available, even in these challenging and unprecedented circumstances,” Mitchell O’Connor said.

“I would like to wish all students using new ways to undertake exams and assessments in the near future the very best of luck. I am sure that your hard work and perseverance will be fully rewarded.”

Dr Padraig Walsh, chief executive of QQI said: “We are very proud of how the further and higher education and training sector has come together to develop a system-wide, innovative and student-centred response to the unusual circumstances in which we currently find ourselves.

The efforts being made across the sector to ensure the best outcomes for students the length and breadth of this country are nothing short of remarkable.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Thursday that, as it stands, Leaving Cert and Junior Cert examinations will take place in June as planned.

The practical and oral parts of some Leaving and Junior Cert exams have been cancelled, with students allocated full marks for those exams.

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