He has form on this issue, although earlier in the year he was content on the exams just being cancelled for 2021.
This was clearly what Trotskyists like himself consider to be a “transitional demand.” You ask for something that might be easier to concede than the madder thing which you really desire.
Barry’s call for the cancellation was that it would provide “peace of mind” for students who were already stressed by the impact of the lockdown – the same lockdown that Barry and his fellow travellers, including Sinn Féin, criticised because it was not strict enough.
These TDs, it will be recalled, were the ones who advocated far more stringent restrictions on all forms of economic and social activity and who were the first proposers of hotel quarantine. These restrictions didn’t apply to asylum seekers, naturally, who just materialise out of thin air and are then entitled to an unending supply of free stuff.
Now Barry, and presumably the rest of the gang, want to get rid of the Leaving Cert entirely. And why? Well, he says:
The examination is unnecessarily stressful, it is out of date, and it discriminates against students who are not neurotypical or who come from homes that cannot afford grinds.
He is basing his demands on a survey regarding proposed reform of the Leaving Cert conducted by his office which “found that 82% of the Leaving Certificate students who replied expressed the view that the proposed changes are insufficient.” It’s hardly a scientific undertaking, but Barry seemingly extrapolated from that, that the best thing would be to just abolish the thing altogether.
That would be accompanied by “open access to third level.” Which of course raises the interesting question as to how this would operate. Would students just go to school (although surely that is repressive and stressful too?) or maybe not bother their arse going to school at all, which would make no difference anyway. And then just decide that maybe heading to Uni for a few years might be what they need to get their heads together. In any event, it would be their right to do so.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin responded to Barry by stating that he supports the reform rather than the abolition of the Leaving Cert. How long though, before politicians decide that maybe getting rid of exams is a good thing? Especially if they can extend the franchise to 16 year olds.
Going back to January when the holding of the 2021 examinations was still in doubt, the Shinners did hint that they favoured moving towards “continuous assessment.” Which of course would be hogtied too with all sorts of criteria to ensure that none of the “marginalized” were wrongly assessed by The Man.
All this crap, let’s call it what it is shorn of meaningless references to protecting non neurotypical people and whatever, is just another part of the relentless drive to dumb down western societies. On the very best interpretation it is based on the condescending belief among deracinated lefties that their target client groups – be they working class students, black people, gays, female, and any other “intersectional” category you can dream of – are really a bit thick.
Like when certain quarters convey the impression that people from Tallaght only ever stepped under the portal of Trinity College thanks to the patronage of Saint Zappone.
Education and exams and standards are there for a reason. People who decide they want to seriously engage with something that requires expert tuition and mentoring accept that. This applies to whether you want to become a plasterer or a bus driver as much as it does to a desire to become a teacher or a quantum physicist.