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In Ireland, recruitment of Junior and Leaving Cert examiners under way

November 14, 2022

Original Article:

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has said that recruitment is already under way for examiners for next year's Junior and Leaving Certificate exams.

"We're actually holding our first marking conference next week" for Home Economics, Andrea Feeney, SEC CEO, said.

She was addressing the Joint Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh had asked if the early recruitment would "solve the problem" of this year's late results for the Junior Cert.

The SEC will issue the 2022 Junior Cert results on Wednesday 23 November.

Ms Feeney warned that there is "a bigger system issue" that must be addressed.

"It's not a simply logistical or operational challenge that the SEC can solve."

Lack of examiners

While "candidate numbers are 12% more than they were ten years ago", examiners "are almost 19% fewer," she added.

The SEC usually recruits 4,000 examiners, but had "fewer than 3,000" to mark this year's exams, she revealed.

Those leaving school to pursue apprenticeships are facing problems as a result of the late results, the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) has said.

Ms Feeny told the committee that "we have been in contact with Solas" to accommodate these students, and that this "is work in progress at the moment".

With more students and fewer examiners, there is "intense pressure" for those teachers marking scripts, she said.

The SEC hopes to have "more teachers involved" in future, Ms Feeny said, and insisted that the agency has responded in "a very agile fashion" to challenges "each year since 2019".

Work 'not attractive enough'

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said that the work clearly "is not attractive enough", and said pay might be an issue, along with leave and other incentives.

Ms Feeny said that "the rates have been significantly enhanced this year", and that this has "had an impact", but agreed other aspects of the work need to be reviewed, including childcare.

Pay for Leaving Cert scripts rose by up to 50%, and for Junior Cert by up to 58%, she said.

"The earnings can be significant".

She also noted that 2022 was the first summer teachers could go on holidays since the pandemic began, and that this might have played a role.

Fianna Fáil TD Pádraig O'Sullivan said that when he had worked as an examiner, he had lost all his holidays doing that work, and then half of the money he was paid in tax.


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