Saturday, 22nd September 2018
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With thousands of secondary school students sitting or preparing to sit their 'mock' examinations for the Leaving Cert or the Junior Cert at the moment it is clear that when it comes to education, Ireland is a country that takes it very seriously. Education has always been seen as a pathway to a better standard of living around the world and the ability to get as far as possible in your chosen field has always been applauded in this country.

Even though secondary school students are just sitting their 'mocks' and not the actual exams at the moment they will be all too well aware of just how important these exams are in the scheme of things. Of course they are not the be all and end all of things and they are called 'mocks' for a reason but even a trial run for the eventual real exams is an important thing on the exam highway.

There are still a lot of students for whom the traditional exam system isn't made for them and there is an understanding these days that there are different ways and different paths for students to get on in life. There are plenty of other ways to ensure that you have the best chance in life and making the best of your skills and talents. They may not include sitting at a desk and answering questions from an exam paper.

One of the ways that is being seen as a good alternative for students are apprenticeships which can offer a way into a fulfilling and rewarding career path for many people but are not really thought of because the exam system in our country is seen by many as the holy grail of education. Of course it is far from that and itself has many flaws and it is being seen more and more that traditional education aimed at a 3rd level place in a university or Institute of higher learning is not the best fit for all students. Drop out rates in the first year of university are extremely high especially in the science subjects and it is clear that not all students are getting the best advice that they could get. No one starts out their university career with the thought that they are going to drop out a few months later but it is happening more and more in a wide variety of courses.

The traditional pathway for students to move onto 3rd level following their second level exams isn't one that is suitable for all students. Whether it is pressure or ability that students can't handle or a combination of both is hard to tell. In saying all of that you do however want to wish all of the students sitting their 'mock' exams at the moment all the best but to take time out to fully work out what the next step from here should be.


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