FINE GAEL TD Patrick O’Donovan said today that bonus points should be awarded to Leaving Certificate students sitting higher level Physics, Chemistry and Applied Maths.
The Limerick TD called on the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn to consider his proposals, stating that there is a “considerable challenge” to increase the number of students taking these subjects.
He said the subjects are important if a student is hoping to study a range of engineering, technology and science-based courses, which he said are increasingly in demand due to high levels of job creation in the tech sector.
“The low level of take up in these subjects is having a negative knock on impact in the third level sector. Many third level institutions are accepting students into engineering and science courses with ordinary-level leaving certificate maths and physics. The success rate of these students is then compromised, with many of them choosing to drop out because they don’t have sufficient competence in the required subjects,” he said.
He argued that the introduction of bonus points for those taking higher level Maths is clearly reaping rewards and said the same could be done for other subjects.
“We need to recognise the level of difficulty associated with studying Physics, Chemistry and Applied Maths in particular, he said, stating that in 2011, only 8.8 per cent of Leaving Certificate students took higher level Physics, which was down from 10.2 per cent in 2006.
“If we cannot encourage people to study these subjects at higher level, we will have a serious problem in filling the places on third level courses,” said O’Donovan.