Supports for schools who wish to offer coding as a short course at Junior Cycle took a step forward today with the announcement that a larger cohort of schools will be supported over the course of a new two-year initiative. Post-primary schools across Ireland have been invited to apply to participate in the new initiative by Friday 5th May.
“Junior Cycle Coding in Action” is a collaborative initiative between Intel Ireland; Lero – The Irish Software Research Centre who are supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI); and Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT), a Department of Education and Skills schools’ support service, aimed at supporting teachers and schools who are committed to offering the short course. It follows a very successful pilot programme – “Exploring Coding” – in which 22 schools participated.
Schools may express their interest in participating in this exciting initiative before Friday 5th May, 2017.
Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Education & Skills, welcomed the expansion of the programme. “The introduction of coding at Junior Cycle will be most helpful to students thinking of taking computer science as a Leaving Cert subject.” Last November, following the publication of the Report of the STEM Education Review Group, the Minister signalled his commitment to offer computer science, including coding, as a Leaving Certificate subject.
Minister Bruton added, “Increased technology training in schools is an important part of our Acton Plan for Education 2017 which is designed to make the Irish education and training service the best in Europe by 2026. Excellent and innovative education and training are the pivot around which personal fulfilment, a fair society and a successful nation should revolve.”
Clare McInerney, Education and Outreach Manager, Lero said, “The drop out level by third level students in computer science is 25% compared to an average of 16% in other subjects. We believe that introducing young people to computing at an early stage from primary and junior to senior Cycle will help to address this issue. This initiative will support and strengthen the growing community of schools who are leading learning for students in computer science”.
Maeve Byrne, Public Affairs, Intel added, “STEM skills are at the heart of all that is made possible not only in Intel but right across the technology sector. This is a sector that is growing at a phenomenal pace and which provides exciting and rewarding career opportunities for people now and in the future. We are delighted to be part of an initiative aimed at promoting technology in Irish schools and particularly proud that students will get hands on experience with hardware that was designed by Intel right here in Ireland”. Intel is backing phase two of the programme with a donation of electronic devices to schools, as well as elective opportunities and outreach supports.
Dr. Padraig Kirk, Director, JCT commented, “The pilot initiative found huge enthusiasm by teachers and pupils for this course. This CPD programme will support those schools that feel they currently exhibit the capacity and commitment to offer the Coding short course on their junior cycle programme. The online element of this support, as well as the use of digital tools and electronic devices, reflects JCT’s commitment to supporting schools who wish to develop in this area”.
Further details on how schools can express their interest in participating are available at www.jct.ie.
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