Friday 24 November 2017

Awarding extra maths marks 'will boost pupil numbers'

Fergus Black

Extra marks should be awarded for Leaving Certificate maths and science to encourage more students to study the subjects, a new report has urged.

It warns that urgent action is needed to correct the balance of students taking maths, applied maths and sciences at second level and suggests new approaches should be considered to recruiting and compensating "high-quality" teachers in the subjects.

The proposal is one of a number made as part of a drive to prepare Ireland for the so-called digital revolution and includes calls for VAT-free computers and ICT equipment to be provided to schools.

Irish universities have already dismissed the idea of awarding bonus points for honours maths, warning that such a move would artificially increase the cut-off points levels for science, engineering and technology subjects.

However, a new report from the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) suggests that "weighted" marks should be awarded for Leaving Cert higher-level sciences and higher and applied maths.

It says there is no national approach in practice to digital education of primary students and urges the "transformation" of education with a swift roll-out of a digital curriculum at primary and secondary level.

The report also recommends the setting up of a digital financial services centre to "kickstart" the digital economy.

The report warns that failure to embrace the new digital age would leave Ireland "marooned" as conventional industries migrated to cheaper locations.

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