Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Leaving Certificate Examination.

28.

asked the Minister for Education whether 50 per cent of the marks to be awarded in the honours history leaving certificate examination, 1972, will be awarded at the discretion of the examiner; and if he will make a statement indicating how the competition will be conducted so that the overall system of marking will be consistent and fair to all the candidates.

The marking of candidates' answering in the leaving certificate examination is determined entirely by strict criteria agreed between the Department's chief examiner and representatives of the universities with the panels of examiners. There is, therefore, no question of leaving any percentage of the marks to be awarded at the discretion of an examiner. The work of each examiner is carefully monitored throughout the marking period so that a consistent and uniform standard of marking is ensured in the case of the answering of all candidates.

29.

asked the Minister for Education if he is aware that the pupils doing honours Irish in the leaving certificate examination 1972 will be expected to answer six questions on Irish books on the course and two questions on Irish poetry in three hours; whether he considers that this is sufficient time to deal adequately with all the questions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I am satisfied, in the light of experience gained in the leaving certificate examination, 1971, that the time allocated to candidates taking Irish, higher level, in the 1972 examination will be sufficient.

30.

asked the Minister for Education if the text of the Irish poems on which questions will be based in the honours Irish leaving certificate paper for 1972 will be made available to candidates for this examination; if he will outline the instructions issued to teachers on the matter; and if these instructions differ from those contained in the syllabus issued for the year 1971-72.

Instructions have been issued to school authorities to the effect that the text of the poems contained in the syllabus for Irish, leaving certificate course, may be given in the examination paper in the case of certain questions where the nature of the question makes this desirable. It has been stressed that this may not be the case in relation to all the questions dealing with the poems.

There is nothing in these instructions which runs counter to the syllabus issued for 1971-72.

31.

asked the Minister for Education if he intends to change the rule which requires a schoolchild to pass the subject of Irish to obtain the leaving certificate; if his Department are formulating any programme which will encourage the learning of Irish on a voluntary basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

While as I have previously stated I am willing to take any steps which might advance the use of Irish, I will have to be fully satisfied, as a result of scientific studies, that such steps as I might recommend to the Government are the correct ones. The Minister for Finance and the Gaeltacht has commissioned a study to examine all matters relating to attitudes towards the language and the factors which influence such attitudes. When the results of this study are available the manner and nature of the examinations in Irish held as part of the public examinations generally will be considered.

I might add that there is no question of the Government departing from its policy of making the study of Irish essential for every pupil.

When is it expected that the results of this study will be available?

In about two years.