The latest CAO results pointed to a notable drop in those applying for science, technology and engineering courses at third-level.
However, this is not due to a lack of interest in these areas but rather an astute reaction on the part of secondary level students to the doom and gloom economic reports we have been hearing about, said Seamus McGuiness, MD of Prim-Ed publishing, supplier of both e-learning software and interactive whiteboards to schools.
“If you are a parent who was sitting with your child as they were preparing the CAO form, you will be aware it was filled out in the midst of an economic downturn where doom and gloom projections in construction and the roll-back of IT in school initiatives by Government are having an impact on the student,” said McGuiness.
“In a sense, this swift response is an indicator of students’ interest in digital media – consuming news instantaneously online and being more aware than ever of the economic context of their continuing education in the next few years.”
Besides which, McGuiness points out, we are now seeing the end product of recent investment in ICT in schools, by parents, communities, the technology industry and partially by Government, and this has not come to fruition just yet.
“We are not seeing the result of that yet – the full results are yet to come, we are only seeing the early stages of this investment.”
Even so, we are now hearing of 10,000 vacancies in IT, an industry crying out for graduates due to an ever-shrinking number of applicants.
“This information should have been made available before the CAO forms were filled out,” said McGuiness.
“Perhaps we only shout about it after the fact and we certainly cannot blame the colleges, who can only do so much marketing. If the Government really wants to send a message that a career in engineering or technology is a wise move, then it must send this message by investing in the technologies themselves.”
By Marie Boran