This week the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D. launched the STEM Education Policy Statement 2017-26 and Implementation Plan 2017-19. The plan sets out the Minister’s intention to make Ireland a European leader in STEM education by 2026.
Minister Bruton said: “We are living in a rapidly changing world and key to delivering on our ambition to be the best will be the ability of our education system to adapt to a transformed economy and society. Our children must be equipped with the necessary analytical, creativity and critical thinking skills to thrive in such an environment.”
Focus on more students choosing STEM subjects
The department announced ambitions to increase the number of total students taking Chemistry, Physics, Technology and Engineering for Leaving Certificate by 20%, as well as a focus on increasing the number of female students taking STEM subjects for Leaving Certificate by 40%.
Computer science and technology in schools
The introduction of computer science as a Leaving Certificate subject has been brought forward to September 2018. There will also be a new Junior Cycle technology curriculum.
First level schools will receive a new primary maths curriculum, now including creative and computational thinking and coding.
Teachers will use a cross-disciplinary approach to incorporating STEM across all subjects.
The gap in achievement in STEM disciplines between DEIS schools and all schools will be closed.
The plans include access to high quality information on the diversity of STEM careers for all schools, learners and parents.
The department plans to build robust and sustainable partnerships between schools, business and industry, research organisation as well as further and higher-level institutions.
2017-19 Plan: Enhancing
The first phase of the policy is introduced with the 2017-19 implementation plan, which will focus on an enhancement phase.
This will be formed of plans to nurture learner engagement with awareness campaigns and programmes as well as undertake significant research. This will be followed by plans to enhance teacher capacity and support STEM education practice.