Letter to the Editor: Wrong to put so much pressure on students

Letter to the Editor: Wrong to put so much pressure on students
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD briefing media on the recommendations of the National Public Health Emergency Team on measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Government Buildings. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

I read with total support Sean Twomey’s excellent article in today’s paper about the Leaving Cert stress. 

As a Senior Clinical Psychologist, I agree 100% with his view point and that of the many other students, parents, teachers, and school leaders who are trying to get their voice heard. 

My colleagues and I are seeing a rapid increase in anxiety, depression, de-motivation, lethargy among this cohort of students. We are hearing words like unfair, unsustainable, and impossible to achieve my potential . 

It is not okay to treat people like this —not okay to add extra pressure on to the disadvantaged students, the students who are grieving, the ones who have or have had Covid-19 or the ones who are digitally, financially, or environmentally challenged.

Minister McHugh seems only to be able to look at either postponement or predictive grades. There are more than two options — a third ... do open book testing as the universities are now doing, use the suggestion of adding the national percentage increase from mocks to real score over the past three years and add that score to the existing year mocks (the data already exists). 

There are lots of possibilities if only the Education Dept was open minded enough to listen ... give students their summer to heal, give them the normal starting time for college and give them the best chance they’ve got at the life they deserve and have worked so hard for.

Sabina Christensen

via email

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