Seize the opportunity to reform the Leaving Certificate

September 03, 2021

Ibec, the group that represent Irish business, congratulates all students receiving their Leaving Certificate results today, after many years of hard work, and significant disruption. Students have shown incredible resilience and personal leadership throughout this pandemic – traits which are highly valued by business and employers. 

Claire McGee, Head of Education and Innovation Policy, said: “It is time to reimagine the Leaving Certificate. Given the level of disruption to education and assessment in past 18 months, it is now important to reflect on the educational value of the Leaving Certificate experience and its role in preparing students for their future.

“The world of work is changing. Over the last decade, and with the introduction of some incredible innovations, our understanding of the typical job and worker has evolved. Ireland seeks to be an innovative, knowledge-led economy and digitally empowered society. The future of work will require creativity, problem-solving, digital literacy, and communication skills, coupled with appetite for continuous learning.  

“To support this future, Ireland needs an inclusive education system that focusses on formative learning, with multiple assessment modes, progression paths and with a high value on experiential learning.

“As we look to rebuild from Covid, this education reform opportunity cannot be squandered. The ability of our young people to fulfil their potential, be successful in their chosen careers, and fully engage as active citizens depends on the success of such reform.

“At its core, the new senior cycle must become a programme of learning that encourages students to develop strong interpersonal skills, such as self-awareness and self-motivation, and provide a teaching and learning experience which extends beyond traditional academic examination. It must also incorporate a well-considered transition year programme, a targeted careers service to guide students in making informed decisions about their future and be complemented by a transformed CAO process as an entry system for post-second level education. 

“The 2021 leaving certificate students should remember that there are a wide variety of opportunities now available in higher and further education, rewarding apprenticeships and employment. The leaving certificate can be a catalyst for a full and rewarding life, but only if it can light the spark for lifelong learning.“