Rise of 30pc in primary school science excellence

4 Jun 2008

A total of 654 primary schools around Ireland will be receiving awards in science excellence over the coming fortnight as part of Discover Primary Science, the flagship project from the government organisation Discover Science and Engineering.

Discover Primary Science is an initiative to train primary teachers in science skills in the classroom but also to encourage children to take part and get interested in the sciences, with the awards ceremony recognising hard work from students involved.

Registrations for Discover Primary Science are increasing on a yearly basis, with 2,986 primary schools joining this year in comparison to 2,386 in 2007 and 1,221 in 2006. The number of schools receiving awards has also doubled in the past two years.

For the first time this year, any schools receiving the award twice will be eligible for a voucher towards classroom science equipment.

Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Jimmy Devins (pictured), said the record number of award winners this year marked a milestone for science education and he went down a well-worn path, talking about the need to create a ‘knowledge based economy’.

“We need a pipeline of young students opting for science, technology and engineering courses. In that context, it is encouraging to see the foundations being laid at primary level between the number of schools that received awards and the even larger number participating in the Discover Primary Science programme.

“In effect, they will have the building blocks to explore and understand the world of science and the opportunities that it provides.”

No mention was made of the €252m ICT (information and communications technology) funding Irish schools are still waiting on from the NDP (National Development Plan).

By Marie Boran

Pictured at the launch of the Awards of Science Excellence were Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Jimmy Devins, and students from St Josephs CBS, Fairview – from left Loughlan O’Brien, Matas Galinas and Aaron Paul