Higher Education Secretary Simon Harris has contacted his Cabinet colleague Norma Foley over the delay in announcing a date for the Leaving Cert results.
He expressed his concern in a phone call to the Minister of Education today.
Mr Harris said the date for the results and CAO offers, two key events in the lives of school leavers, needed to be announced “urgently”.
He said Ms Foley shared his view that “it’s really important that clarity is provided as soon as possible. In other words, students need to know when the results are in.”
Mr. Harris added his voice to the controversy amid growing unrest within the CAO and academia and among students over the long wait for the results date and no expectation that it was imminent.
He was speaking as he arrived at UCD for the launch of a new national research and innovation strategy.
The minister acknowledged that the reasons for the delay in releasing the results – partly the second session of the Leaving Cert in July – “rose out of something designed to help students”.
He said a second session is “a good thing, but needs to be balanced with the need for clarity”.
Mr Harris said this is a matter for the State Board of Examiners (SEC) and not the Secretary of Education and he understands the SEC has a difficult job to do.
“But I think we need clarity, for students as urgently as possible.”
On a practical level, he said families need to be able to set summer vacation dates and arrange student housing, while third-tier colleges also need clarity so they can make their plans.
Typically results are released in mid-August with CAO offers a few days later, in time for incoming students to start college in early September.
However, results for 2022 will be delayed due to a second full Leaving Cert session in July and students being promised that overall results would not be lower than last year.
This means first graders are likely to start college later, colleges will not be able to complete their class schedules, and incoming students will have greater difficulty finding housing.
The delayed delivery of the results – and consequently the CAO bids – was signaled in February, but there is growing concern and anger that the date has still not been released.
The CAO, the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) have all written to Ms Foley expressing their concerns.
CAO Chair Professor Pól O Dochartaigh said it was “highly unsatisfactory” that the results had not been announced by mid-May.
He said the CAO and higher education institutions have major operations to organize and “the lack of clarity hampers proper planning of the admissions process.”
Prof O Dochartaigh said they needed to develop a timetable for offering places and starting courses in September.
He said they wanted to ensure that the estimated 50,000 students who would be entering their first year this fall would do so in September and have the full higher education experience available to them.
To meet those goals, they needed results as close to the traditional date as possible, he added.
Irish Universities Association (IUA) Director-General Jim Miley said a date needed to be set “immediately” to allow for more orderly planning.
He said late results would have a “hugely disruptive” effect on Leaving Cert students’ further study and career opportunities.
THEA Managing Director Dr. Joseph Ryan and Chair of the Council of Registrars Dr. Sheila Flanagan warned of late results/offers which highlighted quality assurance issues related to a shorter semester for freshmen, exam pressure and the late release of schedules for all students.
They added that the late introduction in early years limited opportunities for student interaction with existing students who have returned to the classroom.
The July holding of the written exams is intended to facilitate students who fall ill with Covid or who are missing the June exams for other exceptional reasons, such as being sick. B. a bereavement, can not file.
Ms. Foley has also guaranteed the Class of 2022 that grade inflation at 2021 levels will be built into the final scores, which will require additional work once the assessment is complete.
This is to ensure that this year’s high school graduates and CAO applicants are not disadvantaged compared to the 2021 class, who scored 60 points better on average than in 2019.
For Covid-related reasons, Leaving Cert results in 2021 and 2021 relied on estimated grades from teachers, resulting in a huge jump in grades.
Due to the exceptional circumstances, results and CAO offers for 2020 and 2021 also came later than usual, causing difficulties for college calendars and for students seeking accommodation.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/leaving-cert-results-simon-harris-calls-norma-foley-about-lack-of-date-41662107.html Leaving Cert Results: Simon Harris calling Norma Foley for missing data