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Students to get clarity over Leaving Cert in the next few days, says Harris

By Danielle Walsh Ronan, additional reporting Aoife Kearns

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has said students will get clarity on the Leaving Cert in the next few days.

His comments come as students are holding a number of protests across the State on Wednesday calling for a hybrid Leaving Cert.

Students have said they want a choice between predicted grades and exams due to the disruption that has been caused by the pandemic.

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More than two-thirds of Leaving Certificate students have said they want a hybrid state exams model this summer,ย according to a recent survey.

However, senior education sources have previously commented that the hybrid Leaving Cert of 2021 which gave students a choice between sitting written exams and accredited grades will beย โ€œimpossibleโ€ย to re-run this year

Mr Harris said he understands why the students are calling for hybrid exams, however, there are issues.

"We saw the very significant impact that can have on grade inflation, but certainly I think there needs to be a recognition from Government that senior cycle students have had an extraordinarily difficult time," Mr Harris said.

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"This year's students nearly, in particular, have had almost all of their senior cycle in various ways disrupted, and I think we need to reflect that in whatever decision we arrive at."

A meeting with stakeholders will take place on Thursday which will consider if the hybrid model is an option.

"Last year we arrived at the right solution and I hope we can provide that clarity in the next few days," Mr Harris added.

What do Waterford students think?

Meanwhile, over 30 students gathered at the People's Park in Waterford city earlier today (Wednesday) to protest the current plans for the Leaving Cert.

The crowd included students from Newtown, Waterpark, and De La Salle College who were allowed to leave class to gather at the bandstand.

Arthur Pushkin and Alice Jennings are 6th-year students from Newtown Secondary School and organised today's protest. They said:

"Enough is enough. Students have pushed for this approach. The stress, anxiety, and uncertainty has gone on for too long.

"Time for change is now, we demand a hybrid approach and thatโ€™s what we expect," said Arthur Pushkin and Alice Jennings, organisers of the Waterford protest.

Listen back to the WLR News@One report from Waterford city below, or on the listen back section of our website.

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