Wednesday, May 06, 2009

HEA Report on Career Opportunities in Computing & Technology

This HEA report is available here.

"At an overall level, this research suggests that the challenges in encouraging more young people to consider a career in computing and technology are more extensive than what can be addressed in a single communications campaign. A number of individual challenges need to addressed in a variety of ways."

The report mentions that Higher level maths and certain science subjects (i.e. physics and chemistry) are seen by many students to be particularly difficult and requiring a level of work that is not conducive to the objective of maximising CAO points. (The same issue was raised by me this week on this blog). The report suggests that a key challenge lies in making these subjects more relevant to students, perhaps through more practical or relevant teaching methods, or developing interest from an earlier age, as per the objective of the Primary Science Initiative. In the aforementioned post from this week, I also flagged the challenge of making these subjects more relevant to students, and I suggested that moves towards compulsory Leaving Cert. Applied Maths and CBEL might be worth considering.

Also, the report documents that for many secondary students, their first exposure to career guidance comes in fifth year after having made their Leaving Certificate subject choices. This presents a further challenge for communication as it can mean that many may have already closed-off particular third level possibilities (for example, by switching to ordinary level maths or not selecting particular science-based subjects).

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