Hybrid Leaving Cert ‘not ruled out by Government’, says Taoiseach

Country currently developing a long-term vaccination strategy, Martin says

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: ‘We are making adjustments and accommodations will be made, there will be more choices within the papers.’ Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: ‘We are making adjustments and accommodations will be made, there will be more choices within the papers.’ Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the Government have “not ruled out” a hybrid Leaving Cert this year and a decision should be made within the coming weeks.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Late Late show, Micheál Martin said discussions between education stakeholders are ongoing.

“Students are coming back with a survey ... [a hybrid model] will create its own challenges ... we are making adjustments and accommodations will be made, there will be more choices within the papers.”

The hybrid model caused grade inflation and put pressure on the third level system, he added.

Regarding Covid-19, he said hospitalisations had remained steady and case numbers were stabilising, albeit at a high level.

Mr Martin said he was optimistic for the first time in months, and further easing of restrictions would be considered by the end of next week with the potential for removing some restrictions by the end of the month.

Mr Martin said the 8pm curfew on hospitality was introduced to reduce socialisation, and he hoped it would be lifted by February.

“We wanted to get mobility down by 20-30 per cent ... we felt correctly we could halt the impact of Omicron.”

He was conscious that hospitality and the arts had been badly hit by the pandemic.

Mr Martin also said this measure was in place to ensure the schools could reopen, and he didn’t expect them to close again.

He also thanked the Irish people for following public health guidance and getting vaccinated.

The booster programme, especially the GPs and pharmacists who “played a blinder” before Christmas, played a role in ensuring the Omicron wave was not as serious as it could have been, according to Mr Martin.

Ireland is currently developing a more long-term vaccination strategy, the Taoiseach added. “I can see the potential of a fourth dose for over 60s and the immunocompromised. We may be looking at an annual vaccination programme.”