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Uncertainty has our students stressed out over the Leaving Cert

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Student Rosa Lorenz (18) hit out at Joe McHugh

Student Rosa Lorenz (18) hit out at Joe McHugh

Student Rosa Lorenz (18) hit out at Joe McHugh

Leaving Cert students in Dublin have lashed out at the Government - claiming the uncertainty over the delayed State exams is causing them unnecessary stress.

Rosa Lorenz (18), a sixth-year student at Dominican College in Whitehall, said Education Minister Joe McHugh's confirmation that the Leaving Cert exams have been postponed until July 29 was causing students like herself undue stress.

"Minister McHugh argues that postponing our exams will alleviate some of the stress that we are under yet, in reality, this will only prolong it," she said.

"Many of us have worked exceptionally hard over the past year and consider this extension to be demoralising and unmanageable."

Disadvantage

She said the current lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic "has placed us at an academic disadvantage".

Students do not all have access to computers at home or even broadband or a quiet place to study, she said.

"Students in emergency accommodation or direct provision are at a particular disadvantage," she said, adding that teachers with young children at home may also not be able to devote as much time as they would like to their students.

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Joe McHugh

Joe McHugh

Joe McHugh

"To expect us to sit exams in August after five months removed from a school setting is completely unreasonable," added Rosa.

"How is a set of exams, sat by students in the midst of a global pandemic following five months of self-directed learning, more representative of our academic potential than the work we have produced over the last two years?"

She said it was a period of great uncertainty. "Many of us are suffering mentally from the impacts of social distancing. A large proportion of us will inevitably face bereavement ahead of these exams and some of us will fall ill ourselves."

"Is it fair to expect us to continue our studies despite this?"

Adam O'Leary (18), a sixth-year student at Castleknock College, said: "The lack of clarity surrounding the exams has caused a large amount of stress and anxiety for sixth-year students."

Instead of students starting to sit exams on July 29, he would prefer them to be delayed several weeks.

"This idea is going to be met with strong opposition from students who wouldn't wish to sacrifice any of their summer holidays," he said.

"But a few weeks is a small price to pay to ensure that a set of exams that might decide the rest of your life will be conducted properly.

"A delay of the Leaving Cert - by even up to three weeks - would make a massive difference to all students, as they can finally wrap up the course, rectify any issues and still get a substantial amount of revision completed."

Nevertheless, Adam "felt comforted by Leo Varadkar's announcement that the State examinations will definitely take place".

"This measure gives students some assurance, and puts the fate of the results they will receive back in their control.

"These exams will do what they have been designed to do: give high points to those who have worked," he said.

Mr McHugh revealed further details of scheduling will be announced in early June.