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Education in Ireland

A Little About Life

A family friend is about to sit her leaving certificate this June, in fact she just sat her Irish oral last week. It got me thinking about ‘back in the day’ when I was the one preparing to sit the dreaded exams (7 years ago to be exact).

Ireland is known to have a wonderful education system. Something I am very grateful for. Every year more and more people enter the workforce equipped with 3rd level qualifications. A report published in 2011 showed that 48% of Irish 25-34 year olds hold university-level qualifications (the highest rate in Europe) and 95% of Irish people graduate from secondary education.

From speaking with friends who grew up in the US I have a new appreciation for our educational system. Ireland is unique in the fact students must study english, irish, maths and majority must also do a second language. Some university courses even require you to do higher level maths/irish. Another thing that came to light over the past year is how the Irish have such broad knowledge in comparison to other nationalities. It is something we must remember to utilise when applying for jobs abroad.

When filling out my CAO in 6th year I didn’t know what I wanted to do in university, never mind when I was in transition year picking my subjects for my leaving certificate. In the end I decided to choose subjects I enjoyed; such as geography, music and home economics. In hindsight I probably should have taken a business subject considering that is what I went onto do in university.

It’s funny when you’re a teenager the leaving cert is made out to be the be all and end all, now most of us struggle when trying to remember our points. I don’t think I have ever been asked for my leaving cert results in an interview. There is so much pressure put on teenagers to do the best they can. I understand that it does play a big part in getting into university, however, there is always other routes to get into the course you have always dreamed of. For anyone sitting the leaving cert this year remember…
If ‘Plan A’ didn’t work out, the alphabet has 25 more letters! Stay cool 😉

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