Extra 30 minutes being considered for Junior Cert paper

A petition was started by a young Dublin student

Extra 30 minutes being considered for Junior Cert paper

Image: change.org

A Dublin student has been praised for starting a petition to extend the Junior Certificate exam by 30 minutes.

Proposals were discussed by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Petitions earlier.

The group has agreed to invite officials from the Department of Education and the State Examinations Committee (SEC) to appear before it.

The petition seeking an extra half hour in the English papers has received nearly 12,000 signatures.

Dublin student Tara O'Sullivan, who started the petition, says: "After using the provided sample papers and completing mock exams many of my peers felt questions were at a fair doable level, however all agreed that the timing was ridiculous.

"Lots of students who faced this exam did not finish the paper and those who did had no time to assess and adjust their answers before having to hand up the paper.

"To give students the opportunity to express their thoughts and analysis as eloquently as expected, I truly believe more time is necessary."

The Oireachtas Committee on Public Petitions | Image: Oireachtas screenshot

It was just one of the issues being considered by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Petitions.

Committee member, Fianna Fáil TD Shane Cassells, praised Ms O'Sullivan: "Just to put on the record, chairperson, just to praise Ms Tara O'Sullivan for actually corresponding with the Petitions Committee.

"I'm sure many students leave an exam hall and have conversations around bike sheds and so forth and talk about the aspects of the paper - and if they had more time that they would have been able to answer question X, Y and Z.

"For her to have taken the time to corresponded is to lauded."

Discussing Ms O'Sullivan's petition, committee chairman Seán Sherlock said: "We have to agreed to invite the officials.

"I think once we have issued the invitation to the department and to the State Examinations Commission, I think it might be a good idea - subject to Tara's own school schedule - maybe to invite Tara to the committee."

Deputy Cassells added: "Imagine what they would do for young students across Ireland - that a student has taken the time to actually correspond with the Oireachtas and maybe demonstrate flaws - or in fairness, in terms of the actual length of time afforded to them to actually answer papers.

"I think that would do more than many protests outside the gate - it would really be a great use of this particular committee room, and petitioners actually advocating for something that needs to be changed."