Leaving Cert: Why is there so much emphasis placed on points and third level education?

With all the good weather we're having, it can only mean one thing: it’s Leaving Cert season. This morning, around 60,000 students around the country will sit down to English Paper One. For many of them, this marks the beginning of a gruelling CAO points race and a scramble over coveted university places. But with lots of alternative routes into further education available, why is there so much emphasis on the final year exam results? Irish Times education editor Carl O’Brien explains the options available to students, who favour a less stressful route. We also hear from Irish Times intern Katie Mellett, who completed her exams last year.

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