Sinéad Burke Graces The Junior Cert

She said she would "love to read the answers".

Her internationally viewed TED Talk made the final cut. 

Irish scholar and activist Sinéad Burke was included in this year's Junior Cert English Paper One exam where students were asked to read her speech on inclusivity before answering three essay questions

Taking to Instagram, the Dublin-native said the inclusion of her speech in this year's exam paper came as a surprise.

"My TED talk has brought an incredible number of opportunities but discovering today that Why Design Should Include Everyone was transcribed and question one on the Ordinary Level English Junior Certificate paper is not something I could have ever imagined," her post read.

"I had no idea it was happening and very grateful to the students and teachers who sent me DMs and emails to let me know," Sinéad said, adding, "Thank you, of course, to the State Examinations Committee for including me."

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My @TED talk has brought an incredible number of opportunities but discovering today that ‘Why Design Should Include Everyone’ was transcribed and question one on the Ordinary Level English Junior Certificate paper is not something I could have ever imagined. I had no idea it was happening and very grateful to the students and teachers who sent me DMs and emails to let me know! Thank you, of course, to the State Examinations Committee for including me. . . In Ireland, our state examinations are divided into two categories: the Junior Certificate, a mandatory programme of ten subjects that all students complete after three years of second-level education, usually at around age 16. The second is the Leaving Certificate, a six/seven subject programme that is the pathway to college. An approximate 32,000 students sat this paper this morning. . . Students were asked to read the speech and answer the following questions: From your reading of this passage, what do you think is the greatest day-to-day challenge faced by Sinéad Burke? Give a reason for your answer. Which one of these words best describes how you feel when you read this speech? Hope or angry? Give a reason for your answer. Based on your reading of the last paragraph of this speech, what do you think is Sinéad Burke’s message to people who design things? Did you enjoy this speech? Give two reasons to explain why. . . I would *love* to read their answers. . . [Image description: Four images of the PDF of the exam with two images of me - one by @petervargaphoto with long hair and an exceptional hat and the second from my first speaking engagement at the @worldeconomicforum. If you need / would like a more accessible format, please email me.]

A post shared by Sinéad Burke (@thesineadburke) on

Since her speech on inclusivity went viral, Burke has spent the past few years travelling the world and consulting with designers about the importance of diversity to the everyman.

She has developed a partnership with Burberry, who has made custom pieces adapted to Burke’s height and redesigned a section in their London headquarters to include railings and lower chairs and tables.

She is also a recipient of the Vere Foster Medal from the Marino Institute of Education, and an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, A Lust for Life and the Irish Girl Guides. Most impressively, Burke was also included in British Vogue’s inaugural list of 25 women shaping the UK in 2018. She is now a contributing editor at the title.

In December 2017, she appeared at the Business of Fashion's VOICES panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“My money and my existence is as valid as yours," she said there. "I have spent my whole life trying to convince the world that I am intelligent, articulate, professional and an adult. And yet the fashion industry, unintentionally or not, does the exact opposite by what it offers."

Main image by @thesineadburke

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