Your bookmarked countries have an update since your last login. View Bookmarks x

Leaving Cert students hit out at Government over exam date clash

April 29, 2024

Original Article:

Leaving Cert students have criticised the Government for holding the local and European elections on one of their exam days.

The National Youth Action Group, part of Youth Work Ireland, has said it is disappointed that its concerns about potential interference with exam schedules have “fallen on deaf ears”.

The organisation has said it is deeply unfair to ask the public to go to the polls on June 7, which is the day Leave Certificate students will be sitting maths and geography State exams.

More than 130,000 secondary school pupils are due to sit the Leaving Cert state exam this year.

In a statement, the group said it had previously aired concerns that the Local and European elections and another referendum may be held on an exam day.

"Increasingly many 18 and 19-year-olds are taking the Leaving Cert and voting on the same day. It is another hurdle they could do without.

“The group expressed the view that the Government holding elections on dates that young people can’t work around (state exams) is no way to engage them in the elections," the statement adds.

“The group also flagged problems relating to transport and believe free public transport should be available on election day. Similarly, the group believed that many young people in remote rural areas and on islands find it difficult to get out to vote”.

Jessica Moffitt, an 18-year-old Leaving Cert Student and first-time voter, said: ”As a current 6th year student who will be voting for the first time in this election, I am heartbroken over the inaccessibility.

“When I first heard this election would be held on the first Friday of the Leaving Cert I was appalled.

This decision feels to me as if the Government does not want to hear young voices or opinions. Over 130,000 students will only have one focus on that day — their Leaving Cert — and to then add the extra pressure of local and European elections, as well as a referendum to the mix is crazy.
“It is unfair on the mental health of these students to expect them to have a stable and clear mind whilst in the midst of the, arguably, worst weeks of their life. If the voting were to be held on Saturday the 8th it would give me and my fellow students the chance to actually think about what and who we will be voting for.

“Hopefully the Government will have a change of heart and put the needs of the students before anything else.” 

Campaign organiser Jamie Mac Giolla Bháin said: “By holding polling day on Saturday the 8th of June, the Government would be honouring the work they have already done to raise engagement from those who are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but already are the leaders of today.

“It's crucial that young people are given the opportunity to exercise their right to vote without the added pressure of exams. Shifting the local elections to Saturday, June 8th, would make it more accessible for students to balance their academic responsibilities with civic duties.

“These elections play a pivotal role in shaping our communities, and it's essential that the youth's voice is heard. Rescheduling the elections to Saturday would empower young voters and encourage their active participation in the democratic process. We want to ensure that the voices of the next generation are heard loud and clear.

“By moving the election date to Saturday, we're not only easing the burden on students but also fostering a more inclusive and participatory democracy.”


Upcoming AACRAO Events

On-Demand Learning

Self-Paced | Online

Self-paced courses aligned with our competency and proficiency framework, AACRAO's on-demand training will build your skills and enhance your resume. 

Courses in:

  • Compliance
  • International
  • and more

Learn More

SEM_2020_1440x400 update

The International Institute

The AACRAO International Institute covers promising practices for the evaluation of international credentials that combines AACRAO’s On-Demand International Series with five, two-hour, virtual instructor-led training sessions.

Learn More
AACRAO International Institute Banner