This morning, 64 students from Libya will join the 131,000 thousand students taking the Leaving Cert examinations. This is the only location outside the Irish state where the Leaving Cert is held on an annual basis. The Leaving Cert has been taken by the students at the International School of the Martyrs (ISM), in Tripoli, Libya since 1997, and this year 24 girls and 40 boys will sit the exams. The students will take the same examination papers at the same time as their Irish counterparts -albeit sweating over Shakespeare in 30-plus degree heat. Although the students are registered in Tripoli, due to the unstable political and security situation in Libya, the SEC now provides the examinations for students of the ISM in Malta. While 64 candidates are entered to sit the examinations this year, it is not known at this time exactly how many of these will travel to Malta to sit the examinations. Same rules apply The examinations in Malta are conducted under the same rules that apply in Ireland. The completed exam scripts are returned to the State Examination Commission for marking and marked in the normal way. The same examination fees are charged to students, and the school is also responsible for any additional cost of running the examinations. The last time the full Leaving Cert was run in 2019, 71 students in Malta registered for the exams, while in 2018, 46 students were registered. In the early 1990s, the Tripoli school was seeking to introduce a broad-based, internationally recognised examination system. The principle of the ISM approached the Examinations Branch of the Department of Education with a view to adopting the Irish Leaving Certificate examinations system. In order to be recognised as a Leaving Certificate examination centre, the school was required to comply with the conditions outlined in the Rules and Programmes for Secondary schools and all regulations and instructions for the conduct of the examination issued by the State Examinations Commission. This year marks the full return of externally delivered exams for all students. A record number of students are due to sit their exams this year with 131,431 students commencing the Leaving Cert, Leaving Cert Applied and Junior cycle. The numbers expected to sit the 2022 exams has increased by 6 per cent (+7,052) compared to the last time a full set of examinations was run in 2019.