The need for reform in the current Irish education system has been the topic of much discussion for years now. Over the past 50 years, little has changed to the system which puts students under an immense amount of pressure. The current flawed system encourages one path and little has changed to take into account the changing landscape and the varied employment opportunities open to students. Good news, major changes could be just on the horizon for the Leaving Cert examination.
According to an official review of the senior cycle, the current Leaving Certificate is "too narrowly focused on academic learning and is not suitable for students of varying abilities". This "rigid system" can be frustrating for students with a creative mindset. The creatives are the entrepreneurs and artists of our future and are let down by the current system.
The review also recommended that students should be assessed on a staggered basis over two years instead of facing a stress-inducing single set of summer exams that does little to prepare students for college. The current system encourages students to be “taught to the test”, to simply memorise notes for the exams that are forgotten by the time the Leaving Cert celebrations come around. In any other country, it would be completely unheard of to learn a language for sixteen years and only remember the phrase for "Can I go to the bathroom". Yet this is the sad truth here in Ireland as a result of the current education system.
Another potential change to the current system is including some of the practical elements of transition year like work experience. Work experience is invaluable for contemplating a career path. It's difficult at the age of 17 to decide on the career path that's right for you. There are so many external influences that can sway your decision. For example, parents mean well but can often be opinionated on career choices based on their own perceptions. Work experience gives hand-on experience of the day to day in certain roles and should not just be limited to transition year.
The observations found in this review will feed into a report that will be sent to the Minister for Education Joe McHugh on proposals for changes in the senior cycle.
H/T: Irish Times