Leaving Cert results show students embracing STEM, language subjects

Maths class

As students received their Leaving Certificate results today, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) has welcomed the increase in popularity of science and foreign languages.

This year, 19% and 12% more students sat Higher Level Physics and Chemistry papers compared to 2013. The NAPD also noted the modest increase in the number of students sitting Higher Level French, German and Spanish.

The number of students taking higher level Irish increased 7% on last year, and 16.5% on 2013.

The appeal of bonus points for sitting Higher Level Maths has reached a plateau with 27% of candidates sitting the paper, the same as last year. The failure rate for the subject increased to 5.2%, up from 4.3% in 2014 and 3.3% in 2013.

“The combined efforts of Government policy and effective teaching have had tangible effects on the uptake of both STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] and foreign language learning,” said Clive Byrne, director, NAPD. “STEM in particular has immeasurable worth to this new generation of school leavers. Ireland’s digital economy is burgeoning, but a lack of tech skills means talent is imported from abroad to fill the sector’s 6,000 vacancies. This is now beginning to change. Continued investment in and promotion of a STEM-focused curriculum by policymakers and educators will only bring further long-term benefits to our children.

“The fact that our future generations are increasingly equipped with strong language and communication skills is also very promising. The increased number of those sitting Higher Level Irish examinations indicates that the bonus points system acts as a good incentive; while the slight increase in those taking French, German and Spanish is a positive outcome considering two-thirds of companies use foreign language skills in conducting business.

“Finally, a sense of perspective is important. A good Leaving Cert is a valuable qualification, but CAO results do not dictate the future. Over the coming weeks, principals, deputy principals, teachers and counsellors will be on hand across the country to advise and support students looking at alternatives, or different paths, to college.”

TechCentral Reporters

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