Belfast Telegraph

Proud day for Junior Cert pupils

Education Minister Mary Coughlan has congratulated the 56,000 teenagers who will receive their Junior Certificate exam results.

The Tanaiste said it was a proud day for parents, teachers and students, whom she called on to celebrate sensibly with family and friends.

Ms Coughlan said she was encouraged more than 88% of students took science in the exam, with the proportion of students taking higher level mathematics up to 45%.

"These subjects are both important for the knowledge economy, and I hope that students who did well in these areas will continue with science when planning their subject choices for their Leaving Certificate and sit maths at higher level," she said.

"The results for Higher Level Business Studies, where there was an error in the cash flow figures in question six of paper two, are broadly in line with previous years.

"The error was taken account of in the marking scheme, and a comprehensive analysis undertaken by the SEC has indicated that this did not impact adversely on candidates' results."

However, IBEC, the group that represents Irish business, called for the replacement of the Junior Certificate with a less examination-focused curriculum, which would emphasise a broader range of skills and stimulate pupils' enthusiasm for learning.

Tony Donohoe, IBEC head of education policy, said: "The current overcrowded, rigid and subject-based curriculum dominates secondary school organisation and teaching practice. This represents a major missed opportunity to encourage the types of creativity, flexibility, independent thinking and appetite for learning that are so critical in later stages of education and work."

Meanwhile the Irish Bishops' Drugs and Alcohol Initiative (IBDI) asked parents to assist their children to find new and healthy ways to celebrate their exam results as an alternative to drinking alcohol.

Coordinator John Taaffe said while it marked a milestone in the lives of young people who had completed many years of hard work, it was also an opportune time for parents to educate them on alcohol and how easily it could adversely affect their lives. "Stories and images of alcohol excess, which mar the annual publication of the results, can be prevented if a responsible attitude toward the dangers of alcohol has already been instilled in our young people," said Mr Taaffe.

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