A rise in the uptake of science, maths and foreign languages in the Junior Cert — reflecting a similar trend at Leaving Cert level — shows signs of progression in an Irish employment environment crying out for STEM skills.
With Junior Cert results out today (9 September), the rise in students taking higher level maths (up to 55.3pc, it was 45pc back in 2010) has been widely attributed to Project Maths, an initiative focused on statistics probability and the practical application of algebra.
An increase in uptake in other areas like Spanish, Italian and technology skills such as metalwork, reflects the IT and science-rich country that has evolved here out of the digital revolution.
And it’s something that the national association of principals and deputy principals (NAPD) seems fairly happy about.
“I was delighted to see today that Higher Level Mathematics continues to improve, reflecting similar progress in the senior cycle, said NAPD’s Clive Byrne.
“This is a significant development. More students recognise that, by taking the higher level maths paper in the Junior Cert exam, they may be better prepared for the challenge of the Leaving Cert… as well as [having] greater opportunities to follow a successful career pathway.”
Of course, it’s not just the long-term planning of third-year students that should be commended, but the role parents and teachers play in shaping the future workers of Ireland.
“The fact that our future generations are increasingly equipped with strong language and communication skills is very promising, as is the increase in students taking Higher Level Science,” added Byrne.
“Such skills can hopefully help to tackle current knowledge gaps faced by many industry sectors, including Ireland’s burgeoning digital economy.”