‘Foley’s Leaving Cert Reform is untenable’

Time for a rethink

Sir, – I refer to Breda O’Brien’s very important article “Foley’s Leaving Cert Reform is untenable”, Opinion & Analysis, January 28th), in which she is severely critical of the Minister for Education’s policy to examine written paper one in English and Irish in the Leaving Certificate at the end of fifth year instead of sixth Year.

From the point of view of the pupil’s psychological development, their increased maturity at the end of sixth year means that they have much more to offer now by way of both accumulated learning and personal experience, and consequently can acquit themselves distinctly better after a further year.

There is also a serious risk that these two subjects would now be allowed to monopolise their work in fifth year, leaving little time or effort for the other subjects in that year.

Again, I suspect that, for the growing number of our students who seek to study at a university abroad following school-leaving here, the international currency value of their Irish Leaving Certificate could become devalued by the proposed shrinking of the duration of study in these two key areas. – Yours, etc,



(Emeritus Professor

of Education,

University College Dublin),


Co Dublin.