Minister says engineers supporting maths teachers could help tackle Ireland’s skills deficit

Minister says engineers supporting maths teachers could help tackle Ireland’s skills deficit

22 March 2012 at 19:46

Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock TD has welcomed the engineers contribution to supporting maths teachers in the classroom.

He was speaking on the fourth day of Engineers Week 2012, which marked over 5,000 hours of volunteer engineer time being given freely to working with students in classrooms to improve understanding of maths and engineering as a career.
 
A survey conducted by Engineers Ireland found that nearly 80% of engineers were satisfied or very satisfied with their choice of engineering as a career, despite the current economic difficulties in Ireland.

Minister Sherlock said harnessing the expertise of industry was paramount in the Government’s ongoing reform of the maths curriculum. “The prospect of engineers supporting maths teachers could greatly bolster the drive to improve achievement in maths and ultimately tackle Ireland’s technical skills deficit. By bringing maths applications and formula to life in the classroom, engineers are helping pupils to connect mathematical problem solving with a mobile phone app for example. All of this is consistent with Project Maths, the new syllabus in maths that is currently being introduced into second level and complements the government's policy focus on improving numeracy throughout the system."

“Engineers are acknowledged for their strong problem solving and reasoning skills – bringing these attributes into the class room in a sustainable manner  in partnership with teachers offers great potential to bolster the Government’s skills plans around maths. I welcome the ongoing engagement between the Teaching Council and Engineers Ireland on this issue.” 
 
John Power, Director General of Engineers Ireland, said the fact that nearly 80% of engineers are satisfied with engineering as their choice of career indicates the durability and flexibility a qualification in the area offers. “These are patently tough economic times for everyone.  But a career in engineering provides both diversity and opportunity.  Parents are starting to recognise the importance of maths to their children’s education but we need to find new ways to convert this into tangible improvement in maths achievement.  The prospect of engineers using their problem solving skills and working with teachers to contribute to a greater grasp of maths is one that we propose and something that should be explored further.”
 
“And I once again want to acknowledge the huge contribution our engineers have made in schools across Ireland both this week and all year,” added Power.

Engineers Week 2012, a week long programme of nationwide events run by Engineers Ireland with the aim of highlighting the importance of the engineering sector and the need for more graduates with technical skills to meet the Irish economy’s needs, runs until Sunday, March 4.  An estimated 255 events will take place nationwide over the course of the week. 

To find out more information about events taking place near you or to register your attendance log onto www.engineersweek.ie.