Students have called for more details on the contingency plans currently being arranged due to the Covid-19 pandemic to help the State exams go ahead in the coming months.
This comes as the Taoiseach confirmed on Tuesday that plans are being developed to ensure the exams go ahead this year, despite schools remaining closed until at least April 19.
There is an immense feeling of uncertainty and anxiety for thousands of exam students across Ireland as they wait for clarification on these plans, according to Ciara Fanning, the president of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU).
“This is a hugely difficult and confusing time for everyone, but particularly for students who are due to sit State exams in June,” she said.
“Having built up to these exams this year and previous school years there is huge pressure to perform well, and students are now unsure when they will be sitting the exams or if they will happen at all.
“This makes it incredibly difficult to focus on study and preparation for the exams. We need clarity immediately on the State Exams to put students at ease and reduce the immense stress and confusion they are already feeling at this time.”
Meanwhile, the Sinn Féin education spokesman has also called on Joe McHugh, the Minister for Education, to provide more information about the contingency plans to students and teachers.
Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, a Cork South Central TD, said the situation at the minute is unsustainable and deeply unfair on students, their families and their teachers.
“The advice of the public health authorities is key," he said. "In an evolving situation it is not difficult to imagine that a decision would be taken that it is not possible to hold written exams, or the remaining practical exams in the current time frame.
“If that decision is to be made, then we need clarity on what the contingency plan is as this must be in place as soon as possible. We need to know in that case if written exams will proceed at all, and if they do, when they will proceed, and how third level, post leaving cert admissions will function.”
“There needs to be engagement with third level and Post Leaving Cert (PLC) bodies here. This uncertainty can’t drift into late April or May.”