Stressed by the Leaving Cert


Sir, – As the mother of three teenage boys I concur with the findings of the ESRI’s report on the Leaving Cert (Carl O’Brien, Front page, December 17th).

Students, parents and teachers are under huge pressure in the senior cycle. Schools and teachers do an exemplary job but the system pushes them to “teach to the test”. Languages are particularly focused on rote learning. Essays supplied by the teacher are learned off by heart to be regurgitated in the exam. Likewise pre-prepared answers are rote learned for the orals without the student having any real ability to hold a conversation in Irish or the third language.

Students are also required to take subjects that do not suit their abilities or interests, which results in demoralised and underachieving students. The cult of grinds appears to be out of control and clearly favours the financially better off but as the report shows to the detriment of students’ health and welfare.

While there are positives to the Leaving Cert, the many negatives need to be addressed and the senior cycle revised to suit the needs of the 21st century and best international practice should be applied. – Yours, etc,


Co Galway.