With more Leaving Cert students, oral exams were postponed because examiners were unavailable.
This brings the number of candidates in 14 schools to 600 affected by a sudden change in arrangements for Irish and German oral exams.
The State Examinations Commission (SEC) blames high Covid-19 infection rates for difficulties in recruiting and retaining examiners.
On Saturday, Irish oral exams for 500 pupils in seven schools were postponed due to the unavailability of examiners due to Covid-19.
Today, the shortage of examiners has spread to 14 schools, another 100 candidates are affected, and oral German exams have also been postponed.
“As of this morning, Monday April 11, Irish and German oral exams in 14 schools, affecting 600 students, have been postponed to the period from May 4 due to the impact of Covid-19,” the SEC said.
With continued high virus rates in the community, more exams could be affected this week.
Exams are being postponed until May, but the postponement has caused distress for students who were prepared for the tests and expected to dodge before Easter.
One mum told independent.ie it wasn’t fair to postpone exams until May.
“This puts our children at a clear disadvantage compared to the students who can take their oral exams this week as planned and get them over with.
“Our kids have to try to recover from their distress, study for written exams, get back into the oral zone in a couple of weeks, and then focus on written exams again,” she said.
The SEC said the successful delivery of these exams depends on sufficient examiner numbers, and it has worked very closely with schools and education stakeholders to recruit sufficient numbers of teachers to do this work over the Easter holiday period.
“Unfortunately, Covid-19 has had a significant impact on our ability to hire and retain investigators and any additional spare capacity we had has been eroded due to the impact of Covid-19,” a statement added.
Due to difficulties in recruiting examiners for the oral exams, most were assigned a full six-day schedule from Saturday April 9th to Thursday April 14th to cover all schools to which they were assigned.
This year, the oral exams and the practical performance test for Leaving Cert Music were scheduled for the Easter holidays. While the teachers get paid for this work, she cuts her vacation time.
Recruiting enough examiners is a challenge each year, and the SEC has had to make repeated requests to schools asking them to encourage teachers to come forward to do this work.
The SEC said moving these exams from school days to the Easter break is intended to minimize possible further disruption to teaching and learning given the disruptions already caused by the pandemic.
A total of around 95,000 oral exams had to be completed by around 1,100 examiners from Saturday to Thursday.
In addition to around 52,000 individual oral Irish exams, there are oral exams in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/leaving-cert-more-orals-postponed-because-of-covid-19-41542860.html Leaving Cert: More orals postponed due to Covid-19