Celebrating students 'be careful'
Teenagers have been warned to take extra care as almost 60,000 students celebrate their Junior Certificate results.
Some 600,000 individual grades in 26 different subjects will be opened in schools around the country.
A total of 19 pupils achieved 12 As in the state exam with 108 getting 11 As and another 259 getting 10.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said he hopes the results reflect the hard work put in. "I am particularly pleased to see that more young people are sitting higher-level maths, which is a stated aim of Project Maths," he said. "This increase has occurred even without the carrot of bonus points for maths, whose introduction this year at Leaving Cert level saw a large leap in the numbers opting for the higher-level paper. I hope this is an indication of where we are going with maths."
The overall numbers sitting the Junior Cert jumped 3.4% but the proportion of candidates re-entering the education system is down from 1.9 % to 1.7%.
In the most popular subject, English, more candidates sat the higher-level paper than in the previous five years. Almost half of students opted for higher-level maths, while 24 schools were involved in the Project Maths pilot, figures show.
Business group Ibec called for an overhaul of the subject-based curriculum and said science should be positioned as a core compulsory subject.
The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) raised concerns about the low number of students taking modern languages, particularly German, Spanish and Italian. TUI president Gerard Craughwell said: "There has been much discourse on the importance of boosting science and maths within the education system, but it has become somewhat lost in this debate that modern languages are also hugely important in terms of meeting economic needs. There is clear concern at the relatively low numbers of language graduates being produced."
Elsewhere teens were urged to stick with friends when out celebrating and warned that alcohol is the most common drug used to facilitate sexual assaults in Ireland.
Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop, of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said there is always an increase in calls to its 24-hour helpline 1800 77 88 88 when both the Leaving Cert and the Junior Cert exam results are released. Friends should stay in groups and mind each others' drinks, she said.