Posts Tagged ‘Education’

What happened to science and mathematics classes?

It’s easy to go about our days, keep our heads down and get on with our work. It’s easy to plan for our free time to be filled with leisurely activities or trips away. It’s easy too to shake our heads in disbelief when we hear/read about the golden parachutes received by folks who have little interest in anyone’s economic well-being, except, errm, themselves. Surprise, surprise.

It certainly is NOT easy though to stay unaffected after reading about follies that should not happen in the first place, and one of the latest effects vital education programme.

Mathematical cartoon from Brown Sharpie, by Courtney Gibbons

Mathematical cartoon from Brown Sharpie, by Courtney Gibbons

For a country that prides itself in a knowledge-based economy and education excellence, it is therefore incredulous when cutbacks encroach into education sector in the craziest way possible. When said cutbacks mean science and mathematics teaching in school is going to suffer. When said cutbacks mean students who are interested and talented will not have teachers/mentors who can help direct their learning.

What is the logic behind the cutbacks on something that really matters?!

Just a couple of weeks ago, a pair of 14 years old boys won the first prize in EU Young Scientist Contest in Paris, France. A couple of days later, a team of four secondary school students from Wicklow won F1 in School Technology Challenge World Championship.

Don’t these achievements say something about the need for continuous investment in science and mathematics education? That we have tremendous amount of talents that should be nurtured, not snipped at the roots.

How are the students supposed to keep up with the high standard of scientific knowledge expected of them, to move into the age of information and technology, when they lack the foundation learning to start with? How are the third level institutions supposed to produce graduates in Science worth their salt when students are discouraged from secondary school level to pursue the learning?

The cutbacks certainly aren’t saying “we are trying to encourage students to take up Science” nor “we are trying to maintain the high calibre in Science and Technology”.

Is there any common sense left?

Back to school for the unemployed


A couple of months ago, the Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe announced an initiative for the currently unemployed to return to education in order to retrain and upskill the labour force in this country. In the last few weeks, the details were announced. In total, 2500 places are open under the Labour Market Activation scheme, of which 1000 of them are at postgraduate level and 1500 at undergraduate level.

In Dublin, the following universities and institutions have places on offer:

  • University College Dublin
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • Dublin City University
  • Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Institute of Technology Blanchardstown
  • Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
  • Institute of Technology Tallaght Dublin
  • National College of Ireland

For more information, please have a look at this page on the Higher Education Authority website of which there are links to FAQs related to both the postgraduate and undergraduate level free places (the files are PDF files).

For a list of postgraduate courses, click here.
For a list of undergraduate courses, click here.

Please note that some institutions are running information evening (e.g. National College of Ireland on Wednesday 19 August) while some require applicants to contact the relevant departments directly. As the majority of the courses will begin in September, it is prudent that anyone who’s interested start looking into this scheme as soon as possible. Moreover, some courses are allocated on a first come, first serve basis and places are limited. Good luck!

Ps: if you are on Twitter, you should follow Education Ireland.

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