IN light of the recent OECD report ‘Education at a Glance’ Senator Deirdre Clune has called on the Minister for Education and Skills to increase the amount of time spent teaching science each week at primary level.
“I am deeply concerned that according to this report primary school pupils spend only 4 per cent of their class time on science. This is just half the international average of 8 per cent.
“This means primary pupils spend an hour a week on science. By comparison students spend two and a half hours a week being taught religion.
“I am not denying the importance of religious education but due to the massive growth in science based industries surely more or an equal amount of time should be spent familiarising our children with this key area.
“Science is of critical relevance to our children’s education. If children were to be taught science as a core subject at primary level in a practical and enjoyable manner, these children will then have a positive view of the subject when making the transition into secondary level.
“This would hopefully filter through a child’s education encouraging those with talent to choose science based subjects for the Leaving Cert and then into third level.
“Students who choose to further their education in the areas of science and technology will acquire the skills that will increase their employability in the future thus improving the Irish economy.
“I have written to the Minister for Education asking him if he intends to increase the time spent on teaching science in primary schools in the near future.
“I will also seek answers on whether science will be prioritised as part of the plans for the Junior Cert cycle reform.
“According to the OECD science is given 8 per cent of class time at second level, the OECD average is 12 per cent, this number is not high enough to equip our children for the future job market.”