Leaving Certificate is not a final destination – TUI congratulates students

By piofficer, Tuesday, 13th August 2019 | 0 comments

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has congratulated students on their Leaving Certificate results and advised them to consider continuing their education in areas that they find most interesting and engaging.

The Union has highlighted the significant range of options available through the apprenticeship system or in Further Education colleges around the country. TUI has also said that in order to maintain the attractiveness of teaching as an option for school leavers, equal pay for all teachers must be restored.

Speaking today, TUI President Seamus Lahart said:

‘We extend congratulations to students on receiving their results today. The great majority will find that their hard work and diligence has paid off. However, those who may be disappointed with their results should in no way lose hope. Learning and education is a lifelong pursuit and there have never been more avenues open to pursue a chosen course and career.

In this regard, students should strongly consider apprenticeship options across an ever-expanding range of areas, which can lead to fulfilling and successful careers.

In addition to third level options in Institutes of Technology and Universities, students should also consider the wide breadth of choices in Further Education/Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) colleges around the country. These courses offer high quality standalone qualifications with the option of progression to education and training upon graduation. Given the widespread locations of these colleges, they would also allow students to remain in the family home while studying should they wish to do so. It is an indictment of the nation’s failed housing policy and soaring accommodation costs that the place of study is now a very real consideration and dilemma for families.

Special tribute should be paid today to both mature students who took the brave decision to return to education and those students who may only have acquired English relatively recently, many of whom have already overcome difficulties unimaginable to the rest of us.

The role of parents and guardians should always be remembered. Their unstinting support and encouragement provided a solid base to students. Many will have made – and will continue to make -  huge personal sacrifices to give their children every chance.’

Equal pay for equal work

‘Irish teachers work longer hours than international averages, providing a first class education service on a daily basis to learners of all abilities. It is a professional insult that many are paid at a lesser rate than their colleague across the corridor for carrying out the same work with the same energy, commitment and dedication.

Another cohort of school leavers will today take a step towards becoming teachers themselves, and the profession must remain attractive if it is to continue to attract the best graduates. The unacceptable discrimination of pay inequality must end.’

Students suffering bereavements/serious illness

‘TUI welcomed the announcement from the Minister for Education and Skills in May regarding new provisions allowing Leaving Certificate students who suffer a close family bereavement during the state examinations in June to sit alternative papers in a centralised location in July.

This is a decent and worthy measure that may provide some small relief to those students who are unfortunate enough to suffer the considerable trauma of losing a family member during the examinations period. We support the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union in their call for similar consideration to be given to those who suffer medical emergencies during the examination period.’

Fall in numbers taking Leaving Cert Applied option of concern

‘The significant fall in the number of students taking the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) option since 2010 is of grave concern. There has been a 19% fall in the number opting for the programme, with a drop from 3,358 to 2,716 over the nine year period. This follows cuts to both the pupil-teacher ratio and funding for the programme. The LCA programme offers a valuable alternative programme to students for whom the traditional Leaving Certificate wouldn’t necessarily suit their educational needs. In any review of Senior Cycle, ways of enhancing its perceived status must be given serious consideration. This fall in numbers is a very real example of the hugely damaging effects of education cutbacks.’

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