Harris Feels Leaving Cert Does Not Prepare Students For Real Life


Simon Harris will inform an Oireachtas committee that the current Leaving Certificate system “does not prepare a student for life beyond education”. The Minister for Education will discuss today’s matter in an address on Leaving Certificate reform to Joint Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

Mr Harris believes that the current system “does not teach students about financial literacy, digital skills, sex education, or climate skills. We know that some schools are passionate about education in the round, but this is not universal across our country’s schools”.

Harris adds that he believes it should be, as such skills “would help our students transition to the third-level system or employment”. Although COVID-19 has brought “huge disruption” to the education system, he feels it has also provided a chance to change and reform education.

In the address, Harris said he feels this should include considering how to move beyond a “narrow view of options post school” and beyond the “points race”. He feels a “fair and consistent assessment system” can provide students with feedback and “a clear understanding of their strengths and talents so they can make reliable choices”.

Mr Harris will also seek agreement from the committee that transition rates from DEIS schools to higher education should also be increased. According to 2018 data, the overall transition rate was 63%, with a 40% rate in DEIS schools and 69% in non-DEIS schools.

Minister Harris believes Ireland’s future sustainability is dependent on the achievements of third-level learners, their “specialised knowledge, expertise and development”, and on their “collective capacity to widen and deepen social, economic and cultural development”.

Going forward, Mr Harris wishes to prioritise enhancing the “visibility of further education and training and apprenticeships options for school leavers”. This year, for the first time, these options would be displayed prominently on the CAO website, the committee is to be told.

Meanwhile, Harris would like to also ensure sufficient numbers of students are equipped to work in areas of specific skill needs, such as in Stem, ICT skills, and language skills. The education minister feels everyone in the education sector “should strive to ensure” Ireland has an education system that can adapt to a “rapidly changing world”. A well as supporting “people in developing their talents and reaching their full potential.”