Teachers should not come under pressure from parents about their child’s grades and legislation may be required to prevent them from doing so, a TD has said.
The government decided to cancel the Leaving Certificate exams which were due to begin on July 29.
Instead, students will now be offered the option of accepting grades calculated by their teachers or sitting the Leaving Certificate at a later date when the pandemic eases.
However, those that choose to sit the exam will not be eligible for college this coming September.
Fianna Fail’s education spokesman, Thomas Byrne, told Newstalk FM, that teachers will need time to adjust to marking their own students’ work.
He said: “It is unprecedented and goes against that grain for teachers to be correcting their own students work in terms of their own ethics, in terms of how they do their jobs, so this is totally new.
“We are in a pandemic. I know that teachers have already risen to the challenge of online learning when no national online learning platform has been provided by the State to schools.”
He said he is concerned about anecdotal reports that parents would call or pressure teachers about their child’s grades.
My call to cancel #LeavingCert was always based on public health advice. Today the Secretary General of the Department confirmed to me that there is "compelling evidence based on medical advice that the Leaving Cert cannot go ahead as planned"— Thomas Byrne (@ThomasByrneTD) May 8, 2020
“Clearly, it is also the case that parents should not make those phone calls and put any pressure on. They need to trust the teachers that know their children,” he said.
“Teachers feel that they should not take such phone calls and that is why I am saying that legislation should really be there to protect teachers. I think there is absolutely no reason for teachers to deal with calls like that and they should not feel any obligation to take those phone calls.”
Labour Party education spokesman Aodhan O Riordain called on Education Minister Joe McHugh to publish the health and legal advice concerning the cancellation of the Leaving Certificate.
Mr O Riordain said: “There are several legal issues outstanding with the government’s decision on the Leaving Certificate. Under our current laws, the minister is obliged to hold a state examination of secondary school students, it still is unclear if predicted/calculated grading will meet that requirement.
“Students need to be assured that their results of Leaving Cert 2020 will have exactly the same status as previous years.”