Education Minister Richard Bruton has told the tens of thousands of school pupils sitting state exams to remember there are alternative ways towards achieving rewarding careers.
Almost 60,000 students are entered for the Leaving Certificate, including the vocational programme and the Applied course and a nother 60,652 younger students will sit the Junior Cert.
Exams run until the last week in June and the Leaving results will be released on August 17.
Mr Bruton extended best wishes to the pupils facing a stressful few weeks.
“There is great value in everything that students have achieved in the classroom and in their exam preparations, and I hope that they are successful in demonstrating that over the coming weeks,” he said.
The minister appealed for students not to look at the exams as the be-all and end-all.
“While recognising that these exams are important, I hope that students remember that there are many opportunities open to them following on from the Leaving Certificate,” Mr Bruton said.
“As well as routes to further and higher education there are alternative pathways to rewarding careers.”
Mr Bruton said the Government was focused on doubling the number of apprenticeships available by 2020.
Exams are being sat by 117,453 people at 5,000 centres around the country.
There are four million test papers being sat over the 13 days of the state exams and 4,300 examiners will correct them over the summer.
Pat Burke, chairman of the State Examinations Commission, added his best wishes.
“The State examinations represent the culmination of much hard work by students, their families and schools,” he said.
“The Commission is committed to ensuring that the examinations are conducted to the highest standards in an open, and fair manner. It is our objective to enable each candidate to display his or her achievements during what can be a stressful time.
“I know that the continued support of families and the wider education community and beyond is essential at this time.”