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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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Calls for students to study career-relevant subjects

The American Chamber of Commerce supports the proposal that more points be given to students who study career or university relevant subjects.

Student Kate McDonnell (right) rings her parents wit her leaving certificate results at St Nessan's Community College, Moylish Park, Limerick.
Student Kate McDonnell (right) rings her parents wit her leaving certificate results at St Nessan's Community College, Moylish Park, Limerick.
Image: Niall Carson

WITH THE LEAVING Certificate results out today, questions are being raised about whether students are being encouraged enough to take subjects that will lead to careers.

The American Chamber of Commerce, which represents major US employers in Ireland, welcomed the proposal from the Irish University Association that bonus points be extended to students that study at higher level as well as those who are taking subjects that are relevant to future study options in university.

Careers

The Chief Executive of the American Chamber Mark Redmond said that the introduction of bonus points for maths has been one of the key successes of recent years, resulting in an almost 70% increase in students sitting the paper.

He called for further reform of the points system, stating:

We should now seek additional ways to encourage students to choose subjects that will support their future careers. New proposals that are being considered such as providing more points for subjects based on their relevance to third level courses, and expanding the range of grades for which points are awarded, are welcome developments.

He added that there should be more supports put in place to encourage students to take on the subjects that will help stem the skills shortages in the tech and sciences industry.

“Unfortunately we continue to see high failure rates in the science subjects, which are key skills for many of the modern foreign direct investment companies located in Ireland. As the lessons of Project Maths continue to be learned, they should be adapted and applied to support students studying in the sciences also,” said Redmond.

Business

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) says that more needs to be done to encourage school leavers to open their own business, stating that it is not all about going to work for large corporations.

They called on the Government include entrepreneurial education in the school syllabus, in order to promote the “enterprise culture” in Ireland.

They called on teachers and policy-makers to encourage students to consider starting their own business rather than simply focusing on attaining employment.

“All the evidence suggests that a practical approach to business subjects and an exposure to entrepreneurship from an early stage, would lead to an increase in graduates and school-leavers establishing start-ups,” said Mark Fielding, ISME CEO.

“While the perennial cry from big business lobbyists is for more maths and science in schools, to satisfy their multinational masters, the importance of entrepreneurship in the regeneration of the Irish economy must not be overlooked,” he added.

Meanwhile, Labour Labour Senator Susan O’Keeffe has said more still needs to be done to encourage girls to take up science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, stating that just one quarter of these subject related jobs, such as those with Google and Twitter, are currently filled by women. Fine Gael Cork North Central Senator, Colm Burke, has  said that now is the time for young people to again consider a career in construction.

Read: In numbers: The Leaving Certificate results>

Read: The results are out: How students got on with the Leaving Certificate>

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