Following the leaving certificate results yesterday, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, Professor Patrick Cunningham has commented that results in maths and science were a ‘cause for concern’. He also noted that “some disturbing trends are still evident” particularly “the continued increase in the percentage of students getting honours grades.”
Furthermore, Professor Cunningham outlined “standards among first year University and Institute of Technology students have declined in recent years and those recruiting for high-tech industry complain that they have difficulty finding sufficient appropriately trained graduates in science and technology subjects”.
While the problem needs to be acknowledged and the leaving cert needs to be overhauled, other initiatives such as the Project Maths campaign and an increase in investment in teacher training “make sense” and could all serve to alleviate the issue. yet these plans need to be implemented “rapidly and efficiently”, the Professor added.
DublinCityof Science 2012
The Dublin City of Science 2012 will comprise of a year-long series of science-linked events and activities, the centre-piece of which will be the Euroscience Open Form (ESOF), which will be held in the Convention Centre Dublin from 11-15 July 2012. According to Professor Cunningham, the Government is committed to the events and the primary objectives for the year will be to promote “a dialogue on the role of science and technology in society and public policy and to stimulate and provoke public interest, excitement and debate about science, technology and maths.”
The Professor concluded: “It is vital to improve and create interest in science and maths as this country’s prospects and prosperity a decade and a generation from now depend on it,’ Professor Cunningham concluded”.
In a two-part discussion in the PAI Journal, Professor Ciaran Sugrue analysed why Ireland has poor rates in relation to maths and science and outlines the complexity surrounding a simple diagnosis of the problem.
To view the first part of this series click here and to view second part click here.