Each year the State Examinations Commission assign students with the task of sitting and passing the Leaving Certificate exams before warranting them the opportunity to graduate, but can these important life choices be decided upon the basis of an age-old points system? Is this system reflective of a modern-day workplace, that constantly changes to meet advances in technology and society? Can we determine our future doctors, engineers and rocket scientists by forcing them to pass complex exams that may not even relate to their chosen career path?

An expert panel will discuss the legitimacy of the current Leaving Certificate Examinations, debating both sides of the story to truly decipher whether this system should continue to adjudicate the future of Irish youths. This event will coincide with the announcement of the Leaving Certificate results.


Cian Donovan is an avid autodidact whose passions include engineering, design, and education. From tinkering with devices as a child, he went on to win national prizes in robotics in school. He joined Trinity College Dublin’s Robotics Research Group at the age of 16, and has since collaborated to build award-winning social service robots and co-authored peer-reviewed papers on the subject. Eager to share this experience in STEM, he has been heavily involved in designing and delivering extracurricular hands-on engineering and technology courses to secondary school students. He is a co-founder of Akara Robotics, the start-up behind the Stevie robot, which aims to support older adults and care workers in long-term care settings.

Aoife Dooley is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, author and comedian from Coolock, Dublin. She studied in Colaiste Dhulaigh for three years before going on to achieve a first-class honours degree in Visual Communication where she studied at Dublin Institute of Technology. Before she left college she was featured in Counter Prints book - Icon.  Aoife is best known for her 'Your One Nikita'  ( formally known as Dublin Hun) Illustrations which chronicle the life of a 22-year-old woman called Nikita, best friend Tanya and boyfriend Anto. She published her first book 'How to be massive' October 2016 with Gill books and her second in 2017 'How to deal with poxes on a daily basis'. In 2018 she released the Your One Nikita animated tv series on the RTE Player. 

Diane McSweeney works for the Trinity Access Programmes at Trinity College Dublin, helping to support students who come through alternative entry routes to college such as HEAR and the Foundation Course, as well as working with secondary schools in areas of Dublin with traditionally low participation in higher education. Like her students, Diane is a first-generation access student to college. Despite 'not getting the points', she entered her 1st choice, Communications Studies in DCU, in 2008 because of the HEAR scheme (and of course her own hard work). Since graduating she has worked for national broadcasters Newstalk FM, RTE, as well as Science Gallery Dublin for several years leaving in 2016 as their Education and Learning Manager. She now works a full five minutes across campus, trying to fix the Irish education system with her colleagues in Trinity Access and she is studying for a Masters in Equality Studies in UCD currently.

Catherine O'Connor works as an Education Consultant bringing her specialist knowledge in the area of student recruitment to the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin. Current research interests include: making the transition from second to third level; addressing the gender issue in participation disparity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses and specifically within Computer Science and related disciplines. Her work is informed both by her research and teaching experience which encompasses the design and delivery and management of diploma, degree and master's programmes at both Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University. Author of Cracking the College Code - A practical guide to making the most of the first year college experience, she is a regular contributor to regional radio, television and national radio and print media on the subject of making the transition to third level. 



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  • Where: Paccar Theatre
  • Price: FREE
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