Tag Archives: Leaving Cert

History is being forgotten.

David Wall writes:

As the Irish education system is revamped and modernised an issue that slipped below the radar was the relegation of History to being an option subject.

Students will no longer have to learn about The Age of Exploration (slavery and empire) The Reformation (religious intolerance) Victorian child labour (the creation of workers’ rights) or World War II (the dangers of a democratically elected demagogue who builds a platform built on intolerance and hate…)

At junior cert we learn about Celts right up to modern-day Europe and Ireland. We are given a grounding, thin as it may be, in how the world has become what it is. We develop a sense of self and begin to question why things are as they are.

The junior cert might not allow for depth of study but it grants us with an understanding of who and what we are. It provides us with opportunities to question and challenge the structures of the world, it allows us to form our own identity and it provides the capacity to realise that marching under the swastika possibly isn’t the best way to present an argument.

Students are armed with the skills of considering fact vs fiction. They focus what propaganda is and how to question sources. They are introduced to the skills necessary to combat lies and hate and develop the capacity to think for themselves.

They no longer have to do this.

The protests and counter-protests in America have served to scratch at the thin skin of social inclusivity within America. If the images from recent weeks of young white men with neatly parted hair illuminated by flaming torches were in black and white we could have safely assumed they were of rallies and marches in 1930s Germany.

They weren’t. This is America; Land of the Brave and Home of the Free, 2017.The anger and hate contorting the faces of these young men beneath the swastika encapsulates a damaged society. That the violence and hate is so closely linked to events in living memory is frightening.

A rudimentary Junior Cert education tells us what dangers to expect.

A combination of historical amnesia, willful ignorance and blatant hate has bloomed within American society in recent weeks. This is not an earth-shattering revelation, accepted, but it is a moment of truth.

The speed with which history repeats itself is terrifying. We are teetering on an abyss as the ground fragments beneath our scrabbling feet. Whether this is overly dramatic or not, the sentiment is clear: the study and understanding of our history is not an option.

David Wall is a freelance writer

Pic: Amazon




Breakingnews.ie reports:

Full-time second-level teacher Luke Saunders, founder of Studyclix.ie,the website that breaks down Junior and Leaving Certificate exam questions by topic, gives his expert opinion on today’s English papers.

For the first time ever within a Leaving Cert paper students were asked to write a blog post, a sign that examiners are moving with the times.”

Higher level students were asked to write a blog post for an online campaign that opposed public expenditure on space exploration while ordinary level students were asked to imagine they were tourists and to write a travel blog based on their experiences and views on Ireland.”

Leaving and Junior Cert first papers are over: here’s what was on them (Breakingnews.ie)


Further to yesterday’s letter in the Irish Times…

Barbara McCarthy, in The Times Ireland edition, reports:

John Hammond, deputy chief executive of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, said that the Koran was included because of its literary and linguistic value rather than its religious value.

The NCCA said that it received a complaint from a Christian parent of a student, contesting the assumption that all Arabic students were Muslims and had a knowledge of the Koran.

Eight separate sections of the Koran are identified as prescribed texts in the exam.

The council is willing to address the issue that it is compulsory and will look into making it optional for the next school year,” Mr Hammond said.

Koran may be dropped from Leaving Cert (The Times Ireland edition)

Yesterday: Leaving Cert Fail

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I am a Christian Syrian who has recently been forced to leave Damascus because of violence and, in particular, the bombing of the school attended by my three teenage daughters. My eldest daughter is sitting her Leaving Cert in June and intends taking Arabic as one of her subjects. In reviewing past papers, she has discovered that questions on the Koran are mandatory. She, as a Christian, has never studied the Koran. This is very unfair. What can we do about this?

A question put to education expert Brian Mooney in today’s Irish Times.

To which, Mr Mooney replies:

It may seem strange that it never occurred to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment when drafting the syllabus for Leaving Cert Arabic in 2003 – subsequently approved and published by the Department of Education – that not everyone fluent in Arabic would be a Muslim.

The fact that there are Christian, Yazidi and Buddhist communities throughout the Arab world that have no knowledge of the Koran clearly did not cross the mind of anyone involved in signing off the content of the exam.

To find yourself as a refugee in Ireland forced to answer questions on an Islamic religious text as part of a language exam in Arabic is, to use Charlie Haughey’s phrase, grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented.

I have brought this matter to the attention of the State Examinations Commission, which indicated to me that you are correct. Your daughter currently has no option other than to study the Koran if she wishes to take Arabic for the Leaving Cert.

There you go now.

Ask Brian: Why does Leaving Cert Arabic assume students will have knowledge of the Koran? (Irish Times)



‘With his blonde hair, an orange hoodie, blue jeans and maroon sneakers, David Glynn looked more like a boyband star than the country’s brightest Leaving Certificate student on Wednesday’

Brainy and purty?


Smellyer writes:

If a female student had scored 9 A1s in the leaving and then be described as looking “more like a girlband star than the country’s brightest Leaving Certificate student” I imagine there would be uproar…




Leaving Cert: Castlebar student secures nine A1 grades (Tom Shiel, Irish Times)


This morning.

Successful Leaving Cert results recipients, including obligatory jumping Loreto students.

Blummin’ good at rote-learning tykes.

From top:  Afghanistan-born Navid Safi at O’Connells School. Richmond Lodge, Dublin.
Centre;  Breenan Cullen, Hannah Smith and Julie Masterson at Loreto, Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Above:: Diana Bannaya, Tiffany Bramble, and Shannon Talbot at O’Connells.

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

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A recap of all the Leaving Cert exams from Mark Holland and David Atkinson of Pop The Cherry Comedy.

Mark and David will perform their first live show in Whelan’s, Dublin, on July 6 at 8pm.

Pop The Cherry Comedy (Facebook)

Previously: Leaving Cert English Paper 1

Thanks Mark


Copper Face Jacks tweetz:

“The glorious Leaving Cert weather has arrived!”

Meanwhile, the rainfall radar from Met Éireann shows…

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National forecast (Met Éireann)