Sir, – On the front page of the Irish Times on September 8th, the university registrars cite "grade inflation" as the source of "cruelty" inflicted on disappointed young people seeking to enter college ("Call to tackle 'cruel' grade inflation as college points hit new high", News, September 8th). In the same edition, Prof Suzi Jarvis asks us to consider more broadly what we value in education, and how we can all best recognise and nurture the unique world views, talents and skills that each young person brings with them (Opinion & Analysis, "Leaving Cert the wrong process by which to select savers of planet", September 8th).
The Leaving Certificate does what it says on the tin. It is a certification of the standards achieved by learners having studied particular subjects and sat a variety of assessments. As registered professionals, teachers support every part of this process, bound by a statutory code of professional conduct. This code is grounded in the values of respect, care, trust – and integrity. At all times, and particularly during the pandemic, they have exercised their professional judgment in a sound, ethical way in the pursuit of the most humane of objectives – helping our learners to understand themselves better; what they know, what they can do, and what they can contribute to the world around them, both here and now, and into the future. The points system, on the other hand, reflects a service owned by universities to help them allocate a certain supply of places in their institutions to a particular level of demand at a particular point in time. We all have much to learn from the pandemic. The informed, humane, professional judgment of teachers has much to offer our reflections on these lessons. The issues facing us now are not new. They are of course much more acute. Perhaps now we can have a full, inclusive conversation on how to address these so that our learners can receive the holistic recognition and guidance they have always richly deserved. – Yours, etc,
TOMÁS Ó RUAIRC,
The Teaching Council,