The Leaving and Junior Orals in Irish and Modern Languages and other practical examinations have been cancelled in light of the cornavirus pandemic
All students who were due to take their orals over the next two weeks will instead automatically receive 100% for this portion of the exam.
The move applies to all orals in Irish and foreign languages of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese.
It also to the practical performance tests in Leaving and Junior Cert Music, as well as Junior Cert Home Economics.
Minister for Education Joe McHugh said that this move is being made in light of school closures to limit the spread of coronavirus, and will be implemented by the SEC.
“This is a difficult time for all,” Minister McHugh said, “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.”
Aside from the orals, deadlines for projects and other coursework in a number of subjects have also been pushed back.
Students were originally supposed to have these elements completed between March 20, and April 24 in a number of subjects.
But the deadlines for all have now been pushed back to May 15 in order to give students and teachers flexibility in this year’s exams.
Minister McHugh said that the government is “hugely grateful” for the effort being put in by students and teachers alike to continue education under difficult circumstances.
While the written portion of the state exams are still scheduled to proceed in May, Minister McHugh said that the department and SEC are continuing to monitor the coronavirus pandemic in terms of its potential impact on more exams.
“We will continue to respond at the right time and in the right way, with the impact on our students at the forefront of our minds,” Minister McHugh said.
Some 126,000 students are expected to take state exams this year, with 65,000 at the Junior Cert level, and 61,000 doing their Leaving Cert.