Popularity of technology and science courses continues to grow

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The growth of Ireland’s knowledge economy looks set to continue according to the Higher Education Authority’s (HEA) analysis of the latest CAO preferences, as reported by the Irish Times.

The major subject areas in terms of first preference applications were technology (20 per cent of all first preference applications), science (7.5 per cent), computing (6.6 per cent) and engineering (4.6 per cent).

The findings should be cause for some optimism, given the fact that the foregoing areas have been flagged as those with the most growth potential. Chairman of the HEA John Hennessy was quick to point out the economic advantages of students pursuing paths of study in STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) programmes:

‘Science and technology are providing and will provide major opportunities for Ireland. We need to ensure that we continue to grow the number of world-class graduates who not alone can work for tech and science-based companies but who will also set up companies of their own as well as contribute to the wider society.’

Such proliferation of such rhetoric is believed to be an influencing factor in the decision-making of many students on the cusp of college. While there are merits to propounding employment and career potential, the next step should be to educate students on some of the reasons why these subjects are of interest and attempt to forecast the influences on and benefits to life and society in the future. Instilling passion at an early stage may also solve the postgraduate problem recently highlighted in another recent Irish Times piece, which indicated a disinclination among Irish students to pursue their study in these areas to PhD level.


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