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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 27 March, 2019

#College

In pictures: Dublin Contemporary, Dublin past Photography This post contains images

In pictures: Dublin Contemporary, Dublin past

Kate Horgan photographed the former UCD buildings on Earlsfort Terrace in 1999 and 2006 – and returned to capture them now as they host the Dublin Contemporary art exhibition.

From TheJournal.ie Irish universities fall in latest international rankings Universities

Irish universities fall in latest international rankings

Department of Education says it still draws encouragement from the fact that two are in the top 200.

From TheJournal.ie UCC becomes Ireland's first five star university but others drop in rankings UCC

UCC becomes Ireland's first five star university but others drop in rankings

University College Cork has ranked at 181 in the latest QS World University Rankings but there were falls for Trinity, UCD, and NUI Galway.

From TheJournal.ie High points: Science could be next to offer a bonus to Leaving Cert students Leaving Cert

High points: Science could be next to offer a bonus to Leaving Cert students

The education minister has said that offering extra Leaving Cert points to students who sit Science subjects is a possibility.

From TheJournal.ie Students launch High Court challenge against 'savage' cuts to grants Courts

Students launch High Court challenge against 'savage' cuts to grants

The Union of Students in Ireland says students could not have expected grants to be slashed by up to 60 per cent.

University will pay students to stay sober

Cambridge University seeking volunteers to ‘baby-sit’ students who drink too much on nights out

From TheJournal.ie The Daily Fix: Tuesday Daily Fix This post contains videos

The Daily Fix: Tuesday

In today’s Fix: dog ownership could be outlawed in Iran; more drivers caught speeding; and Ukraine promised €550m to build Chernobyl reactor containment shell.

US student charged with hacking school system

Tyler Coyner charged other students to change their grades.

From TheJournal.ie Teachers' groups broadly welcome FF and Labour education plans Education

Teachers' groups broadly welcome FF and Labour education plans

But both the ASTI and the INTO say many of the proposals have been previously mooted and ask: Why haven’t they been implemented already?

From TheJournal.ie A letter to the class of 2011, Ireland's luckiest generation Class Of 2011

A letter to the class of 2011, Ireland's luckiest generation

Economist Ronan Lyons doles out some valuable advice for this year’s batch of school-leavers, and points out all the reasons they have to be cheerful.

We don’t need no education, say students

A survey of 3,000 undergraduates shows that one in three attends only half of their lectures.

THOUGH OVER 58,000 PEOPLE are still only getting to grips with their Leaving Cert results, there’s a chance that in the future there might be no such thing as a ‘points race’ – in fact, there may not even be such a thing as the Leaving Cert.

Havelock Academy in Grimsby, which only got its first set of A-level results yesterday, has decided it’s scrapping the British equivalent of Ireland’s Leaving Certificate in favour of the International Baccalaureate, or IB, believing that it is a better-suited award to give to people on the verge of college.

The school’s headmaster, Nick O’Sullivan, says the IB would “bring us a richness and flexibility which we can apply across the school at all levels.”

The IB system is governed by a spinoff of UNESCO, the United Nations’ educational and cultural organisation. Though based in Switzerland, and – as one might expect – reasonably well-rounded and neutral in its curricula.

It’s more typically used in schools with students from a global background, and who might intend to study elsewhere after their second-level tuition – such as in Brussels, where the children of European diplomats attend schools that award the IB.

It has a global admiring, too: Time magazine, discussing ways of bringing American schools into the new millennium, described it as “a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognised by universities around the world”. George W Bush had supported extending the number of schools offering the IB programme.

In the UK, meanwhile, the IB was championed by Tony Blair: his government gave funding so that every local authority in the country could allow at least one institution within their jurisdictions to offer it.

In Ireland, it doesn’t have quite so many admirers, but with the move to harmonise third-level qualifications across Europe – as part of the Bologna Process, which has 47 participating countries, including Ireland – gathering pace and slowly reaching fruition, it would be logical that the next step would be harmonisation of the second-level curriculum.

British students coming to colleges in Ireland are often stunned at how many subjects Irish students sit in the Leaving – while most Irish take seven subjects, with some sitting eight or nine, the average Briton takes three A-levels, or four if they’re pushing it.

In the US, meanwhile, many colleges measure entry requirements in an SAT score measured almost entirely on mathematics and English. In Germany, the Abitur is more similar to the Leaving Cert in terms of its breadth; in France, the bac likewise. Either way, the aims of Bologna – to harmonise higher education and thus make student mobility easier – are fundamentally hampered by the mish-mash of entry systems.

Thus, in the future, the second-level students of Europe may all find themselves sitting a standardised second-level syllabus, just as they currently find their third-level degrees being harmonised across the continent. The era of the Leaving Cert may be at an end quicker than we realise.

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