Computer science Leaving Cert
Computers in a row. Image: Ben Schonewille/Shutterstock

New report calls for computer science to be a Leaving Cert subject

24 Nov 2016

A new report has once again called on the Department of Education and Skills to introduce computer science as a Leaving Certificate subject.

With the demand for jobs in computer science only increasing, according to the latest statistics, a new report has called for the Irish Department of Education and Skills to introduce it as a Leaving Certificate subject.

Overseen by the president of Dublin City University, Prof Brian MacCraith, the report said that its introduction is essential if we are to match our ambitions of being a country with a keen focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

According to RTÉ, MacCraith also called for steps to be taken by all parties – including students and teachers – to be ready if it is introduced, as efforts until now have been far behind the ideal.

Of the 50 recommendations made in the report, the current Minister for Education Richard Bruton, TD, has said that 21 of them will be made a priority, including the insistence that a teacher of a STEM subject should have specific qualifications for that subject.

The issue of gender diversity was also addressed by the report, following the findings that 76pc of physics students at Leaving Cert level are boys.

Teachers at a primary school level will also be required to have a higher standard of maths for training courses, rather than the current minimum requirement of a D3 or higher.

Opinion shared by Google

This minimum standard is far below what should be required to effectively teach maths at that level, the report said, and a general improvement will also offer a better chance of emphasising its importance to the students.

The report also called on a total overhaul of the way STEM subjects are taught at a secondary level, calling on not only a greater use of technology in the classroom, but a focus on inquiry-based learning.

Many of these sentiments were shared by Google’s managing director of SMB sales (EMEA) at Google, Fionnuala Meehan, who also called on computer science to be a Leaving Cert subject.

“We really feel, as other countries have done, that this is the thing that is going to get maximum exposure for the generations to come, across all economic backgrounds as well as across the male-female divide,’ she said.

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Colm Gorey
By Colm Gorey

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic. He joined in January 2014 and covered AI, IoT, science and anything that will get us to Mars quicker. When not trying to get his hands on the latest gaming release, he can be found lost in a sea of Wikipedia articles on obscure historic battles and countries that don't exist any more, or watching classic Simpsons episodes far too many times to count.

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