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New school subjects roll-out: Kids to learn coding, Mandarin, computer science and politics

Education Minister Richard Bruton launched the government’s new action plan for education today.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Minister for Education Richard Bruton and Minister of State for Training Skills and Innovation John Halligan meeting children from St Brigids School in Dublin.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Minister for Education Richard Bruton and Minister of State for Training Skills and Innovation John Halligan meeting children from St Brigids School in Dublin.
Image: Sam Boal

THE GOVERNMENT WANTS the children of Ireland to be proficient in new subjects such as Mandarin and coding.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Education Minister Richard Bruton and Junior Minister for Skills and Training John Halligan launched the government’s new action plan for education at St Brigid’s National School in the Coombe in Dublin.

Best in Europe 

The children gave the ministers a warm welcome, with flags and singing, before Bruton told the packed out auditorium of children, teachers and parents that he wants to make the Irish education system the best in Europe by 2026.

Expanding the curriculum is just one of the initiatives he plans to introduce.

15/9/2016 Government to Launch Action Plan for Edu Enda Kenny high-fiving kids at St Brigid's school in Dublin today. Source: Sam Boal

Coding at primary school level is to be rolled out within the Maths programme, said Minister Bruton. He said he has ambitious plans for the subject.

It is something very practical that equips them with skills for real-world situations.

Bruton said introducing coding early on in the schools system is paramount, but said the programme would be be planned and not rushed.

Computer science 

Computer science is set to become a Leaving Certificate subject, while work will begin on introducing the teaching of new languages such as Mandarin.

The department said developing the computer science programme will help “harness and develop student interest” in this important discipline.

It also plans to roll out a new Leaving Cert Politics and Society syllabus in 41 schools this autumn. It’s hoped the subject will be in all schools, nationwide, by 2018.

There are also plans to introduce a series of short courses for junior level, such as philosophy.

The plan aims to also increase the number of students studying “gateway subjects” such as physics, chemistry and higher level maths.

15/9/2016 Government to Launch Action Plan for Edu Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Minister of Education Richard Bruton and junior minister John Halligan. Source: Sam Boal

Other targets in the plan include reducing early school leaving to under 10% in a decade.

Bruton also wants to restore the apprenticeships and traineeships that “were destroyed in the crash”.

Before promising the children they would have no “obair bhaile” tonight, the Taoiseach said:

With this plan we want to lead you on a journey of discovery, where you find your gifts, be the person you want to be in the world.
A doctor? A teacher? A vet? A business woman? A politician? A writer? A musician?
 We want you to reach your potential. We want you to be a brilliant student or an apprentice. And when you leave school, we want you to get a really good job or think up a really cool invention, or set up your own business.

Read: It was all smiles as Enda Kenny and John Halligan shared a stage together today>

Read: Escalation: Dublin Bus drivers will strike for at least 10 days next month>

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