Today, 11th April, 2008, the Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, TD, launched the national roll-out of Intel’s SciFest in the new Science Gallery in Trinity College, Dublin. SciFest is a one-day festival of science held in Institutes of Technology around the country, and is part of Intel Ireland’s Science in Schools program. The festival includes a competition and exhibition of projects from second-level schools. SciFest started as a local science competition in the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, Dublin in 2006. This year nine Institutes of Technology will be hosting their own SciFest competitions.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Hanafin, said ‘Significant changes have taken place in the teaching of science at primary and post primary level with an increased emphasis on student practical work and on the connection between science, technology and society, making it more relevant and more exciting for students. Today a career in science promises some of the best business and job prospects on offer.
Science plays a vital and pivotal role in achieving the Government’s goal of developing a knowledge-based economy in Ireland. Modern developments build on a strong Irish tradition in the sciences. It is encouraging to see the Institutes of Technology opening their doors to second level students and helping them to consider further studies in the area of science. The importance of more of our young people developing an interest in science was never as important as it is at this time.”
The main aim of this initiative is to encourage a love of science through project-based learning. A SciFest exhibition in a local IT gives students in the area an opportunity to develop and present their science investigations. Students are also be encouraged to develop their projects further and present in the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition the following January.
With the popularity of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition increasing each year, and the number of students submitting projects vastly exceeding the space available at the RDS, Intel Ireland recognised a growing need to provide more opportunities for students to showcase their projects. With the support of Discover Science and Engineering this local initiative was brought to a national level.
Intel’s Education Specialist Gerry Nolan is delighted with the success of the project, ‘Education is a major focus area for Intel Ireland. Last year we contributed more than €1 million to local and national education programmes, we owe it to the next generation to advise and equip them with the skill and knowledge that enables them to contribute in a society defined by innovation, entrepreneurship and emerging technologies”
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