Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Examination Failures in Irish.

Wednesday, 28 October 1959

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 177 No. 3

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54.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  asked the Minister for Education if he will consider allowing students who fail either Intermediate or Leaving Certificate examinations because they fail in Irish an opportunity to sit for a further examination in Irish before the beginning of the following school year.

Minister for Education (Dr. Hillery): Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I am satisfied that in the case of students who, due to failure in any particular subject, fail the Intermediate [359] or Leaving Certificate examination, it would not be educationally desirable or in practice be feasible to hold a special examination in that subject for such students before the beginning of the following school-year.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Is the Minister prepared to consider this matter, bearing in mind a case of which I had experience this Autumn of a young boy who got five or six honours in his Leaving Certificate—I think, five honours— and failed in Irish—and now has to miss a year to do the examination again? Would the Minister agree that there is a practice in the universities whereby, if a student fails in one subject, he has an opportunity to take that subject three or four months after the original examination?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  The Deputy will appreciate that a university examination concerns at the most 1,000 students, whereas we have 20,000 candidates for our examinations.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  The Minister will appreciate——

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Our organisation for marking and checking the papers is, at the moment, fully extended to meet our requirements.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Would the Minister consider devising some scheme, because he will appreciate that a special case can be made for students who have not an aptitude for languages, and who if they fail in Irish, must, under the present system, lose a year? It would not be a question of holding an examination for another 20,000 candidates. Will the Minister consider it?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  The staff are engaged right up to September and they are fully extended, so it would be difficult to hold re-examinations. I do not think it would be possible but I am prepared to consider it.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Did the Minister say 20,000 children were concerned?

[360]Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  20,000 candidates for the examination.

55.

Dr. Browne: Information on Noel C. Browne  Zoom on Noel C. Browne  asked the Minister for Education if in view of the disturbingly high rate of children who failed in (a) the Leaving Certificate examination and (b) the Intermediate Certificate examination, he will consider reviewing the present policy in regard to the Irish language, and give to it as a subject the same value as attaches to other subjects which are of a clearly much higher practical value to the child in after life.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Apart from the fact that I do not accept the implications in the Deputy's question, I do not consider that an unduly high percentage of candidates failed the Intermediate or Leaving Certificate Examination, 1959, or that the figures in relation to those who failed these examinations through failure to reach the necessary standard in Irish are such as to warrant any change of policy in regard to the place to be given to Irish in these examinations.

Dr. Browne: Information on Noel C. Browne  Zoom on Noel C. Browne  Does the Minister agree that where a child fails an examination because of failure in Irish, it creates great dissatisfaction amongst the parents, and is an additional expense on them? It creates great dissatisfaction amongst the pupils and the parents, and militates against the revival of the language.

Mr. Moher: Information on John W. Moher  Zoom on John W. Moher  The same can be said of any other subject.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  There are a whole lot of people who pass only because they have the Irish language, and but for that qualification, they could not pass anything.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay  Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay  It is a vehicle of fraud.


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