Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has said students and universities “need clarity” urgently as to when Leaving Cert results will be released.
It emerged this week that Leaving Cert results and college offers may be issued later than normal this year, a move that universities fear could delay the start of the academic year for thousands of first-year students.
Exam results are traditionally issued in mid-August, with college offers following a few days later.
However, colleges have been informed that there are logistical challenges in finalising a date for issuing this year’s results.
These include a deferred sitting of the Leaving Cert exams for Covid-19 reasons and the Government’s decision that the outcomes of this year’s Leaving Cert will on aggregate be “no lower” than last year’s. The exams are due to get underway on June 8 and finish on June 28.
Speaking in Dublin, Mr Harris gave voice to a clear frustration within Government, and among students and parents, at the delay in the release of results this year.
“But we do need clarity. Students need clarity that families and universities need clarity, the university sector has shown itself to be flexible over the course of a pandemic,” he said.
Mr Harris said he spoke to Norma Foley, the Education Minister this morning and they share the view that an expeditious resolution is required to let everyone know when the results are coming out.
“I spoke to the Minister of Education on this this morning. It's really important that we have clarity. In other words, students need to know when the results are coming out,” he said.
“The minister knows my view, and she obviously knows the view of the Irish universities association to which they would have written. The minister and I have the same view and objective here, which is to provide clarity for students as urgently as possible."
A second sitting of the exams will take place shortly afterward to facilitate students unable to sit them in June on public health advice.
It will also be open to students who miss exams due to a serious medical condition or a close family bereavement. Authorities say it is too early to quantify the number of candidates who might need to sit these deferred examinations.
Additional time will be required to mark the later sitting of the exams. In addition, data analysis will be required following completion of the overall marking to ensure outcomes are no lower than last year’s. This will be achieved by allowing the State Examinations Commission to apply a “post-marking intervention”, which will lift all students’ marks, if necessary.