Sir, – As a sixth-year student, I am wholeheartedly of the opinion that the postponement of the Leaving Certificate exams is an exercise in classism (“Leaving Cert postponed until late summer”, irishtimes.com, April 10th).
In these worrisome times, my peers and I are more divided than ever, as online teaching and expensive revision courses favour only those with the means and money to avail of them.
A consensus developed among many “sources” recently that the Leaving Certificate exams must go ahead, to ensure a fair and just system of third-level entry for students, but this is simply not the case. Not every home has a spare laptop for use for Zoom classes while parents are working from home, or internet connection to access teachers’ emails or Google Classroom updates.
While it is fair to say every student should be working themselves with pen and paper, many courses have yet to be finished, and those without the ability to stay in contact with teachers are at a serious loss when it comes to this.
Of course, the private tuition available from multiple sites online, while extremely helpful to students, serves to widen the gap between students that can afford extra help and those who cannot. Undoubtedly, as schools remain closed for now, this gap will only become more apparent.
By the time August comes around and exams take place, there will be a noticeable difference in the results and preparation of the lucky and the unfortunate.
Because of all this, I do not believe that the postponed Leaving Certificate examination period will do anything but cause extra stress to those students and families that are struggling to make ends meet, as well as every student in Ireland. There is no doubt that many families will struggle to afford third-level education costs if teenagers can’t get summer jobs, and this is worsened by the current situation.
The Leaving Certificate needs to be cancelled, to avoid a wholly unfair occasion. – Yours, etc,
Castlebar, Co Mayo.