Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Well done Mallow, but what about the rest of the country?

It's great news for Mallow, Co. Cork that it is to become a national centre of excellence for the teaching of maths and science. However, this news, reported by the Irish Examiner this morning, begs the question as to why just Mallow puts the spotlight on science and maths when everyone now accepts that an increase in science literacy is urgently needed as part of our economic recovery?

The town is to benefit from a range of technologies being developed at University College Corkwww.ucc.ie, Cork Institute of Technology and the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL) at University of Limerick.

A four-year project in Mallow's schools will see staff from the national centre work to increase the uptake of science and maths subjects, improve student achievement at all levels, up-skill science and maths teachers in the town and foster collaborative teaching between the schools.

All this is excellent, of course, but I would have presumed this was happening anyway. All interested parties should be increasing student engagement and achievements with science subjects. All schools should be working together on such initiatives and all teachers should be receiving the appropriate training to do their jobs to the highest level.

What is interesting about this project is the involvement of so many agencies and bodies all focused on the same goals. Intel Investor Director and Chair of the Advisory Board of Innovation Fund Ireland Damien Callaghan has explained that Mallow is now to become a "lead school district nationally for researching and piloting initiatives and developments in the teaching of maths and science" saying that "the problem-solving skills inherent in excelling at these subjects are the core competencies of entrepreneurs and employees of the future".


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