17 August 2016
By Bryan Smyth
Commenting on the publication of the Leaving Cert results today, EMC, the IT multinational that employs 3,000 people in Ireland, has welcomed the rise in the number of secondary school pupils studying STEM subjects and taking Higher-level Mathematics but signalled caution over failure rates in the ordinary level paper.
This year, 28% of students sat the Higher-level Mathematics paper, up on 2015 numbers and a 16% jump on five years ago. Over 11% achieved an A grade this year. The numbers failing to secure a minimum D grade in ordinary maths is up 6%.
The number of students sitting the Higher-level Physics, Chemistry, Applied Mathematics, Business and Economics paper also increased – key subjects in pursuing a career in technology.
Commenting, Bob Savage, Vice President and Managing Director of EMC Centres of Excellence EMEA and head of EMC Ireland, said: “Today’s results are clear evidence that our secondary school system is succeeding in placing emphasis on STEM education.
“The increase in those opting for STEM subjects and the results achieved is encouraging and hugely beneficial as Ireland’s information technology sector – a high-growth sector in our economy – continues to grow and attract inward investment. However, we need to be mindful of the increase in failure rates in ordinary maths and work to ensure this trend does not continue.
“It is absolutely essential for Irish young people to master the skills necessary to excel in the world’s digital economy. Data analysts, computer engineers and software developers are the roles of the future. Expertise in STEM will keep Ireland competitive internationally and drive economic growth, particularly in new disruptive fields like cloud and cybersecurity.
“Government and industry must continue to work together to provide solutions to Ireland’s ongoing STEM skills shortage. Key to this is the introduction of computer science as a taught and examined subject in Irish schools, and we welcome Minister Bruton’s recent call to introduce programming at primary level.”