'Student-friendly' with a few twists


LEAVING CERT RELIGIOUS EDUCATION:CHRIST IN art, film and music was a welcome addition to a Leaving Cert religious education paper that was described as “broadly student-friendly” yesterday.

Students were also asked to examine how modern scientific theory about how the universe began could influence a person’s understanding of the meaning of life.

Students reported satisfaction with the choice of questions, which gave them a chance to draw on their personal world view, their knowledge of the course and on modern life. Some searching questions on the topics of religion and gender and moral decision-making did leave some students cold, however.

“Students were asked to trace the way in which moral failure is evident in one example of structural injustice,” said subject representative for the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland, Aisling Flood. “This was an off-putting concept.Certainly many of the students in my school said that they wouldn’t touch it.”

A total of 1,311 students sat yesterday’s Leaving Cert religious education exam.

A section on religion and gender section was also considered challenging, with awkward language. “The higher-level paper was very student-friendly overall, with questions that were clear and concise,” said Ms Flood. “It linked with some material from the Junior Cert syllabus which is welcome – we haven’t seen that before.”

In section two of the paper, students had the option of answering from a selection of themes including Christianity, world religions and moral decision-making. In the world religions section they could focus on an African traditional religion, a new religious movement, the Baha’i faith, Chinese religion or Sikh religion.

In section three, students chose from a range of topics, including religion and gender, justice and peace, worship, prayer and ritual, and sacred texts. Students could answer questions in the contexts of specific religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam or Judaism. The ordinary-level paper was described as “much more accessible”, with one challenging section on world religions.