Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn has said there has to be a drive to reform the secondary school system, in particular to address the subject of Mathematics.
Almost 58,000 students are receiving the results of their Leaving Certificate examinations today.
Teaching unions and captains of industry have expressed concern about the high failure rate in Maths after 4,000 students failed the subject.
Mr Quinn said he has asked his Minister of State Sean Sherlock to look at ways of improving the performance in Mathematics in the short-term.
And next month, for the first time ever, the Higher Education Authority, which co-ordinates the work of the Third Level sector, will meet the National Council for Curriculum Assessment at a conference to explore many issues of reform.
The Union of Students in Ireland has called for the Leaving Cert to be overhauled, saying the exam is in 'dire' need of change.
Speaking earlier at Clifden Community School in Co Galway, Mr Quinn expressed hope that a new Maths syllabus called project Maths would address the problem in the long-term.
Results were available in schools around the country from 9am and online from midday.
Of the almost 58,000 students receiving results today, 10 people got eight A1 grades.
This year's results are broadly in line with previous years with a continued high failure rate in Maths.
Almost 2,000 students sat exams in a new Maths syllabus this June. The authorities hope this new syllabus will raise standards.
A breakdown of their results shows these students were substantially more likely to achieve a C3 or higher grade.
In a statement congratulating the Class of 2011, Minister Quinn urged those who may be disappointed with their results to consider repeating the exam.
The Teachers' Union of Ireland has expressed concern at the fall in the number of students completing the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) option.
The union said the LCA has traditionally helped keep students who may otherwise drop out within the education system.
However, figures for this year show a 5% drop in students completing the programme and lower grades for those that did.
TUI President Bernie Ruane blamed cutbacks for the fall and said the attack on the pupil teacher ratio and grants for the programme represented a new low in terms of targeting the most vulnerable in our education system.
Some colleges offer 'second chance'
A number of colleges and universities are offering students, who failed or failed to secure the required grade in Higher Level Maths for Engineering courses, a second opportunity at getting onto the course.
NUI Maynooth, DIT, CIT and UIG are running special Maths exams over the coming weeks for Higher Level Maths students who have all the other subject requirements.
Last week, WIT announced it will run special Maths exams for any student who has failed Ordinary Level Maths, but who again has met the other criteria for the course, and who needs the subject for a course at the college.
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