ALL ORAL and practical exams for Leaving and Junior Certificate students have been cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis, with all students to receive full marks.
Written examinations, due to take place at the beginning of June, are so far still expected to take place.
The Minister for Educationa nd SKills, Joe McHugh TD, yesterday announced the cancellation of the oral and practical examinations, which were scheduled to take place next Monday, 23 March, up to Friday, 3 April.
Minister McHugh said the decision was made in light of the school closures due to Covid-19, and acknowledged that the pandemic added severe stress on students already facing their most difficult school exams.
Explaining the decision, Minister McHugh said:
“This is a difficult time for all. Students are facing a challenging period out of school and our decision on this element of the exams is being taken with their best interests at heart.
“It is the fairest response we could take in the circumstances. It guarantees that no student will score less than they would have if schools had been operating as normal.
“We have seen a new emphasis on remote learning amid the uncertainty about the impact of Covid-19 and the closure of all schools. I hope this decision will ease some of the pressure that students are feeling and allow them to focus more clearly on completing project work and preparing for written exams.”
These cancellations and subsequent full marks apply to all students who were due to take Oral examinations in the compulsory Irish as well as the chosen Modern Languages of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese.
Students who were due to sit a practical examination in Home Economics or Music will also receive full grades.
Other changes include an extension for coursework and project work, such as History or Home Economics projects.
Original deadlines, which were between Friday 20 March and Friday 24 April, depending on the subject, will now be extended until Friday 15 May.
Minister McHugh said: “We know we are asking a lot of people in order to stem the spread of Covid-19. In response to that I want students and their parents or guardians and teachers to be given flexibility as they work towards the exams.
“All of Government is hugely grateful for the effort, commitment and energy that students and teachers are putting in to continue education in difficult circumstances. I urge you all to keep up the momentum and focus on preparing for the exams.”
Schools have been asked to continue to plan lessons for students with the aim that students and, where possible, provide online resources and lessons for students to study while social distancing.
The Department of Education and Skills have confirmed they will continue to liaise closely with the Department of Health in relation to Covid-19.