Universities and the Leaving Certificate


Sir, – Jim Miley, director general of the Irish Universities Association, has described the current timing of Leaving Certificate results as “not fit for purpose’”, due to the impact on CAO offers (“Universities call for Leaving Cert results to be given in June”, Education, October 18th).

I would suggest that the opposite is closer to reality and that the convenience of the current system for universities has had a distorting impact on the entire second-level system.

Rather than being the logical culmination of a distinct educational cycle, the Leaving Certificate is now seen primarily as a gateway to third level. This causes systemic incoherence at second level, and limits the space in which educational reform can take place.

The current practice has had a profoundly negative impact on both how and what we teach and on student wellbeing. It has also fostered competition instead of cooperation between neighbouring schools, which in turn has had a polarising effect on society itself.

Apart from universities, the current practice primarily benefits those schools and commercial interests that have leveraged parental fears and successfully marketed exam navigation as academic learning.

Cumulatively, the practice is the primary obstacle to the development of a coherent, inclusive model of public education and should be recognised as such by those involved in senior cycle reform.

Universities should develop their own transparent and relevant matriculation procedures. – Yours, etc,



Educate Together

Secondary School,


Co Cork.