THE Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, TD, has sent his congratulations to the country’s 55,815 Leaving Certificate students who are receiving their results today.
“As the Minister of State with responsibility for curriculum development in STEM subjects I am particularly pleased with the uptake and attainment levels in Maths and in the science and technology subjects.
The Minister highlighted the increased participation in higher level Maths, which was one of the core aims of Project Maths: “Combined with the award of 25 bonus CAO points, Project Maths has contributed to an increase of 35% in the number of students presenting for higher level Maths this year compared to 2011”.
He also welcomed the fact that the number of students attaining an A rate in higher level maths is similar to that achieved in recent years.
The Department of Education and Skills has implemented a range of measures to support the continued roll-out of Project Maths. These are outlined in the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy (2011) and include the prioritisation of Continuing Professional Development for all second-level Maths teachers, a greater amount of time for teaching Maths both at primary and post primary levels, and Department funding of over €2 million this year for a post-graduate Diploma in Maths to upskill out-of-field Maths teachers, with some 430 applications already received.
Minister Sherlock said: “I am confident that these measures will help to further embed the core principles of Project Maths into the education system.”
The Minister welcomed the fact that the distribution of grades in Chemistry, Physics and Biology is very much in keeping with recent years, with an increased number of candidates sitting higher level Chemistry in 2012. “I am keen to ensure the upward trend in STEM subjects, and I intend to engage with industry and academia in a focused way in the coming months,” he said.
Minister Sherlock encouraged this year’s Leaving Certificate candidates to consider a future in the STEM area and welcomed the fact that the first CAO applications highlighted such a trend. “We need graduates in these areas to enhance our competitiveness,” he concluded.