Leaving Cert students should follow “Passion! Not Points!” says top guidance counsellor

Leaving Cert students should choose career paths based on their passions - and not on the points system. 

So says Irish Times columnist and former president of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, Brian Mooney (pictured). 

 “The education system is being driven by a points orientation which is not always to the advantage of the student,” he says, ahead of his January 12th talk, “Passion! Not Points!” on UCD Discovery’s 15-minute series, Zoom for Thought.

 “That whole drive to choose your course based on the maximum points you can achieve is so destructive. I think we need to have this discussion, as a society, about how we have managed to create a system that values points to the extent that it is suppressing the natural instincts of people to follow their genuine interests.”

Schools, colleges, parents and league tables can all feed into the problem. But Mooney says students are not “wasting points” if, for example, they wish to pursue a 300-points Arts degree when they are capable of achieving a 600-point Leaving Cert. 

 “A lopsided value is put on points. Meanwhile a misguided negative perception persists about apprenticeships and further education colleges, which offer a myriad of opportunities,” he adds.  

 “There are many other worthwhile alternatives to the points race, which is putting terrible pressure on young people and very often steering them away from what is in their best interests.”


Click here to register for this free UCD Institute for Discovery event.