Wednesday 17 January 2018

Science and languages vital education tools, says HP boss

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

THE education system must be reformed, with a far greater emphasis placed on science, languages and entrepreneurship, if today's students are to be ready for the real world.

That is according to the head of one of the biggest private employers in the State.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Martin Murphy, who heads Hewlett Packard in Ireland, said there must be reforms to both the Leaving Cert curriculum and how transition year is run.

"We should definitely look at redesigning Transition Year, and putting a much greater emphasis on entrepreneurship.

"One of the problems is that those coming out of school go straight to university and almost see it as the only option.

"There is little consideration given to trades or setting up their own business, either by students or parents, and that has to change," he claimed.

"We should be training them that setting up their own business is an equally good way to go, and transition year gives us the scope to do something like that," he said.

When it comes to the Leaving Cert itself, Mr Murphy added that changes had to be made in order to make school leavers competitive in the workplace.

"We've talked about delivering a world-class education system for years but we have to do it now. There are skills gaps and we have to address them, both in languages and technical expertise.

Mr Murphy's words carry significant weight within government. Outside of his day-to-day role in HP, he chairs the steering group for the JobBridge internship scheme.

They also reinforce complaints that the education system is not doing enough to prepare school leavers for working life.

Google Ireland boss John Herlihy has highlighted the lack of IT graduates coming through, while PayPal boss Louise Phelan has criticised some graduates for their poor attitude and sense of entitlement in the office.

Irish Independent

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