Thursday, 22 March 2007

Ceisteanna (63)

Gerard Murphy

Ceist:

50 Mr. G. Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Science when she expects junior certificate science participation to reach 100%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10753/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

In accordance with the Rules and Programme for Secondary Schools, the approved course for Junior Certificate students in second level schools must include Irish, English, Mathematics, Social Personal and Health Education, Civic Social and Political Education and at least 3 other examination subjects.

While Science is an optional subject for the Junior Certificate, some 86% of students already study the subject.

I have no plans to make science a compulsory subject. Curricular choice is important in ensuring that young people are offered a balanced range of subjects in keeping with their interests and abilities. My Department is fully committed to strengthening the quality of science teaching and learning, promoting increased scientific literacy and encouraging more students to choose science subjects. The revised Junior Certificate Science syllabus, which was examined for the first time in 2006, aims to make the subject more relevant to students' needs in the twenty-first century and to provide students with a richer educational experience.

As part of the recently published Strategy for Science and Innovation 2006 to 2013, it is intended to build on this approach to Science subjects in the senior cycle. Ensuring a continuum from Junior Cycle with the emphasis on project based hands-on investigative approaches and assessment of these as part of the overall examinations, allied with the embedding of key skills, a more applied focus and an emphasis on the inter-disciplinary nature of science in society, forms part of the approach.