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Crowe calls on minister to remove anomaly to ensure equality for all students

28 March, 2007

In view of the recent landmark decision for leaving certificate students with dyslexia, who were successful in their claim of discrimination under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004 against the Department of Education and Science in relation to the annotation of their leaving certificate examination results, Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has called on Minister Mary Hanafin to "remove this anomaly to ensure equality for all students".

The Dublin South-West TD, speaking in the Dáil in reply to a Priority Parliamentary Question, said, "There is much talk coming from the Minister about fairness and integrity, but this system is unfair whereby certain students with dyslexia have an asterisk placed on their Leaving Certificate examination results, essentially labelling them and stating that they have a disability. The Equality Tribunal deems this process unfair also.

"The asterisks or annotation label the student, undermining the entire concept of mainstreaming students. The Central Applications Office accepts the grades without taking account of marking adjustments, so we must ask ourselves for whom this information is intended.

"Students who sit Leaving Certificate subjects through Irish receive an extra 5 per cent, but there is no indication on their certificates that any adjustments have been made. If the CAO is not interested, then who is? The asterisks suggest that the leaving certificate is not worth as much. How could any Minister for Education defend that process?

"Similar annotations/asterisks are not allowed in other jurisdictions, including the Six Counties, due to the terms of the disability discrimination legislation. I urge the Minister to act on this issue. It will cost neither her nor her Department anything, but it will certainly make a substantial difference to the families and the children affected. She should immediately remove this anomaly to ensure equality for all students".


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