‘Firstly, what is most important for Leaving Cert students at this time is clarity. The Leaving Cert
is due to take place in approximately four months time, it is probably the biggest educational
hurdle and the greatest pressure they have faced in their young lives. Yet they still do not know
where they stand. That is not good enough’ says Deputy Lowry.
‘These students have endured two full years of disruption as a result of the Pandemic. Figures
state that some 36,159 students have suffered directly from Covid, not including the huge
numbers that were forced to isolate as a result of being close contacts. Many also had
inconsistency in teaching as teachers became ill from the virus. This group also went through
the periods of homeschooling, which meant that many did not have the necessary technology
to allow them to participate.
‘Normality ceased to exist for this age group. The impact that Covid had on young people is
incalculable as they worried about their family members, their friends, their own health in
addition to their education and future.
Last week in the Dail we spoke in depth about Youth Mental Health and the need to understand
young people's struggles in a way that will benefit and support them. Placing the burden of
what is widely acknowledged as the most challenging exam of their lives on them at this time is
showing neither understanding or support. It is adding further stress and anxiety. I could not
support that’, he said.
‘I understand the obstacles being faced by the Department of Education and teachers in that
calculated grades will be difficult to determine for the Class of 2022. Yet these obstacles should
not be borne by the students, who find themselves in disadvantaged position that is not of their
‘I believe that the time is now right for a full review of the way in which we conduct State
Exams, particularly the Leaving Cert. Testing the memory and ability of a student on a given day
is not a fair means of determining the path for their future. The current system in place is
outdated and unfair and the Department of Education would serve students better if they took
this opportunity to reassess our current examination process so that it gives all students a fairer
chance for their futures’ he concluded.