The Deputy President and Registrar of NUI Galway has said he would be in favour of students sitting traditional Leaving Certificate exams this year.

Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh said he understood the pressures that Leaving Cert students are under and
sympathises with them, but said he believes the hybrid system creates inequalities.

He said accredited grades have resulted in inflation, which pushed points for courses up.

There were six times as many students getting 600 points than in the previous two years, he said, which led to a lottery for the final places.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Prof Ó Dochartaigh added that he believes it is "intensely unfair" if some students received the results by putting themselves through the challenge of sitting the exam, but lost out because someone else's teacher said they were very good.

The years of 2020 and 2021 should be regarded as exceptional years and an attempt should now be made to return to some sort of pre-2020 normality, he said, because the alternative to that is to tell those who did the leaving cert pre-2020 that they will be permanently disadvantaged.

Prof Ó Dochartaigh said he is not opposed to reforming the leaving cert system, but that reform should be on the basis that the experience is the same for everyone.

"I think what is deeply problematic is the idea that one student gets the same number of points as another student on the basis of two very different methodologies," he said.

Meanwhile, the Irish Second-Level Students' Union (ISSU) has said that examinations cannot go ahead as planned.

The union said such a move would be a "complete disregard for students' best interests".

This year's students have been "very vocal" about the disruption they are facing in and out of the classroom, according to ISSU President Emer Neville.

"There is no way we can stand over assessing these students with the traditional Leaving Certificate," Ms Neville said.

"We are calling on the Minister of Education to take students' voices into account and revise the decision about State Exams for 2022."

The union is currently surveying second-level students on the subject and, it says, provisional results show a preference towards a hybrid model.

Yesterday, teacher unions said that the traditional Leaving Cert exams must take place this year, saying there is no justification for offering students additional options.