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Monday 20 January 2020

Minister admits we can't afford labs for compulsory science

Eoghan MacConnell

SCIENCE isn't compulsory in Irish secondary schools because the Government couldn't afford to build enough science laboratories, according to the Education Minister.

Speaking at Tullamore College in Co Offaly yesterday, Minister Ruairi Quinn said science would be compulsory if there was money for a laboratory in each of Ireland's 723 post primary schools.

"The only reason why science is not at second level a compulsory course, as in effect it should be, is because ... every one of our 723 post-primary schools would actually have to have a science laboratory," he remarked.

Mr Quinn said a rethink was needed in relation to core subjects. "It really has to be rethought anyway. I think we should be looking at what are the core subjects upon which you can build a base for further education," he said.

After watching a presentation on Tullamore College's internet link with classrooms in Ireland, America and Germany, Mr Quinn likened the emerging technology to Gutenburg's 16th Century printing press.


Students used the opportunity to explain how they were able to participate in courses, such as applied maths, which are unavailable at their schools due to a shortage in demand.

Mr Quinn said that "the legislation to transform the VECs, all 33 of them, into 16 new Education and Training Boards (ETBs) is on the desk of the President for signature".

He believes the move will be further enhanced on the third-level side with the "evolution out of FAS" into a new body call Solas.

"Solas will be for the further education sector what the HEA is for the higher education sector," he remarked.

Irish Independent

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