The first Leaving Certificate exams in computer science will take place in 2020.
Today (4 January), the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, TD, announced that computer science will now be taught as a Leaving Certificate subject in Ireland.
As part of the initial roll-out, 40 post-primary schools around Ireland will start studying computer science from September 2018 and will be the first to sit an exam in the subject in 2020.
This computer-based exam will constitute 70pc of the student’s total grade, with the remaining 30pc awarded for a project completed in school.
The announcement is one of a series of actions Bruton is taking in this area, as outlined in his STEM strategy and Action Plan for Education, which aims to make Ireland the best education and training service in Europe by 2026.
The introduction of the subject also complements other curricular changes that the Irish Government is implementing, such as introducing coding and computational thinking as part of the new maths curriculum for primary schools.
The computer science course aims to teach students to be creative, adaptive learners and to employ flexible, solution-oriented thinking. It is the Government’s hope that the introduction of the subject will encourage more students to take up computing and STEM courses after leaving school, enriching the Irish workforce.
Students will be taught computational thinking and analysis; programming languages and how to modify computer programmes; and how to design webpages, digital animations, simulations, games, apps and robotic systems.
Announcing the new subject, Bruton said: “There is a digital revolution taking place, which is having a transformative effect on our economy, workplace and lifestyle.
“In order to be the best in Europe, our education system must respond to these changes.
“I’m delighted we were able to bring the introduction of this subject forward to this year as I think it is an important and timely addition to our education system.”
Concerns about the well of Irish tech talent drying up have reached fever pitch in recent years, as tech behemoths in Ireland battle to get the best and brightest applicants.