Future Policy in STEM and the Arts Education

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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New research has been published to inform future policy in STEM and the Arts Education. A Review of Literature to Identify a Set of Effective Interventions for Addressing STEM and the Arts in Early Years, Primary and Post Primary Education Settings was published this week.

The Review can be found here: https://www.gov.ie/en/policy-information/4d40d5-stem-education-policy

The research was commissioned under the auspices of the Department of Education by the STEM and the Arts Advisory group, a sub-group of the Department’s STEM Education Implementation Advisory Group. It focuses on studies in both the national and international educational context and sets out key barriers and enablers to the implementation of effective STEM and the Arts education within both formal and informal settings.

What Is STEM?

Future Policy in STEM and the Arts Education

The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD  said:

“I am delighted to publish this important research into STEM and the Arts education.”

“This review, while it notes that the linkages between STEM and the Arts education are in the early stages of development at both a national and international level, it acknowledges the benefits of exposure to effective STEM and the Arts education and its’ potential to provide transformative learning experiences for all our learners. These benefits include the acquisition of the knowledge, skills and dispositions that are required for participation and engagement in today’s society”.

“The review notes that STEM and the Arts education holds endless possibilities but in order to effect change a coordinated approach is required with input across the entire STEM education ecosystem”.

The chair of the STEM and the Arts group, Jane O’Hanlon, Poetry Ireland, Encountering the Arts Ireland and Teacher-Artist Partnership said:

“On behalf of the STEM and the Arts Advisory Group I welcome this Review, and the research on which it is based, as important milestones in STEM and the Arts Education”.

“While the international literature is quite extensive, data on and analysis of the local Irish experience of STEM and the Arts Education are still emerging. The Review highlights both the importance of ensuring that the integrity of the individual disciplines of STEM and the Arts education is preserved but also the great potential of the creative connections between arts education and STEM education. Engagement in STEM and the Arts opens the door to a deeper, more relevant and enjoyable educational experience and we look forward to contributing to the development of this field in the years ahead”.

Lead author of the research, Dr. Aisling Leavy, Head of Department of STEM Education at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick said:

“This research provides the much-needed opportunity to investigate authentic and meaningful collaborations across the Arts and STEM education through identification and analysis of international best practices and competencies that contribute to fostering creativity, disciplinary knowledge and innovation”.

“It is the hope of the research team – consisting of Claire Carroll, Dr Ed Corry, Michelle Fitzpatrick, Dr. Miriam Hamilton Dr. Mairéad Hourigan, Rory McGann and Dr Anne O’Dwyer – that the outcomes of this research will have a positive impact on the learning experiences for all learners in Irish classrooms”.

The evidence in this literature review will guide national actions to enhance linkages between STEM and the Arts education which will be set out under the second phase STEM Education Implementation Plan, 2022-2026 which is in the final stages of development.

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Steven Galvin

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