Cavan cathaoirleach Sarah O'Reilly

Plans to reduce marks for Irish oral exam in Leaving Cert a mistake - O’ Reilly

A local politician has criticised the recent proposal to reduce the marks available from the oral section of the Leaving Cert Irish exam.

If adopted, the draft curriculum specification for Leaving Certificate Irish published by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment would see the overall percentage of marks awarded for the oral Irish exam reduced from 40% to 35%.

“For many years now teachers, students, parents and Irish language organisations have called on the Department of Education to increase the percentage of marks offered for the oral Irish exam to encourage teachers to spend more time focusing on speaking Irish in class as opposed to learning off essays and literature,” said Cllr Sarah O'Reilly of Aontú . “This decision completely goes against this idea and will inevitably lead to more time being spent in class focusing on the written language and lead to further dissatisfaction among teachers and students about the course.”

Cllr O’ Reilly, who is the cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council added: “Many of us left secondary school with a very poor grasp of spoken Irish. The majority of our time during Irish class at school was spent solely on writing essays, preparing answers for poetry and prose questions as well as a significant time spent on grammar.

"Our native language should be something that we enjoy learning and speaking during our school years, not just another subject that we have to endure. This recommendation from the NCCA is simply not acceptable for our teachers and for our students and it must be reversed immediately.”