Education Minister Joe McHugh said more must be done to equip second-level pupils for entry to computing courses, after a study showed that almost half of college tech students drop out of their course.
Mr McHugh said it was a difficult subject that required a lot of mathematical analysis and “we definitely have to put our hands up and acknowledge the weaknesses and think of what can we do better”.
He referred to the introduction of computer science as a Leaving Cert subject as one inititative.
Meanwhile, the Irish Computer Society (ICS) has warned that students might expect computing to be about gaming and social media or that a technology career meant coding all day, but that computer science was much broader than that.
The ICS also expressed concerns that parents may think computing was about skills such as spreadsheets, word processing and email which, while valuable, were not computer science.
ICS strategy and operations manager Linda Keane said study of computer science provided “truly excellent career opportunities, with many jobs available, but parents and pupils need to have ‘eyes wide open’ in advance”. She said computational thinking was a core element and included understanding how computers worked, how algorithms were put together and how to define and analyse a problem.
This article was first published in the Irish Times on 15 February 2019
Author: Conor McCrave