Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Education Senator Averil Power has welcomed the surge in applications for science, technology, engineering and maths courses at third level institutions around the country.
Reacting to figures released today by the Higher Education Authority, Senator Power said “The figures are clear evidence that the priority attached to the promotion of these courses by the previous Government is paying off.
“It is extremely heartening to see that students are realising the long-term benefits of qualifications in areas like computing and science. Over the past number of years, the Government, business groups and the HEA have been highlighting the exciting job opportunities available in these areas and their major growth potential for the future. The fact that there has been such a significant surge in those opting to study these subjects at third level shows that the message has gotten through to young people.”
While welcoming the results, the Dublin Senator also pointed to the need to continue to prioritise improvements in the teaching of maths, technology and science subjects in our schools.
“The last Government started a major programme of reform of how maths, technology and science are taught at second level.
– The introduction of a new maths course, Project Maths, which places a fair greater emphasis on developing key skills such as problem-solving;
– A revised syllabus in Junior Certificate Science which was first examined in 2006 and has been instrumental in encouraging more students to continue their study of science in senior cycle;
– The introduction of a new Technology subject in 2007 along with a revised syllabus in Design and Graphic Communication;
– Dedicated grants for schools to purchase new computer equipment and the commenced of the roll-out of high speed broadband to schools.
The Discover Science and Engineering programme, funded by FORFÁS, has also been doing great work in promoting the take-up of science in schools and colleges.”
“However, while progress has been made, a lot more work is needed in the area of curriculum reform to ensure we are giving our younger people the best possible chance at securing high quality jobs in the technology and science sectors. This is vital if we are to protect the current level of employment in these areas and attract more firms like Google and Facebook to Ireland in the future,” said Senator Power.