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National Secondary School Essay Competition 2020/21

The University of Limerick Regional Writing Centre is holding its tenth annual National Secondary School Essay-writing Competition for Transition and 5th year secondary school students.


The competition will require that students take a decisive stance on the following prompt, which is to be explored in an essay of 800-1,000 words:

Dr Aoibheann Ni Shuilleabhain, an assistant Professor in UCD and former exam corrector, has described the Leaving Cert as a “trend of the past”. She explains that "If we start looking under the hood a little bit, the CAO system, the Leaving Cert system, isn't as fair as we might think.”

To what extent is the current one-exam system of the Leaving Cert suitable and fair for students? Is there a better system that could be implemented in Ireland?

The articles referenced can be found here:


The primary purpose of our competition is to give students the opportunity to engage in a social debate through writing and to prepare them for argumentative writing at third level. In addition, the competition highlights the University of Limerick’s commitment to supporting the educational advancement of prospective students. The Regional Writing Centre is dedicated to helping students to develop strategies to become more confident, critical and autonomous writers, able to write persuasively in all contexts, whether academic or professional.

The deadline for receipt of entries for this competition is Friday, 26th February 2021 at 5:00pm. The rules and regulations of the competition, judging criteria, identification sheet and poster for the promotion of this competition can be found here.

Three shortlisted winners in each year will be announced on Friday, 23rd April 2021, and prizes will be awarded at a special ceremony on Wednesday, 26th May 2021. The overall winner of the National Secondary School Essay-writing Competition will receive an android tablet, while the two runners up will receive a €100 One4All voucher.