16 Gaeltacht primary schools will undertake a special education programme in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as a result of the new ‘An Chruinne’ programme devised by JAI and Údarás na Gaeltachta.
During the 2017/2018 academic year, JAI will work with Údarás na Gaeltachta to roll out ‘An Chruinne’, a STEM pilot programme, in 16 national schools in the Kerry, Cork, Galway, Mayo and Donegal Gaeltacht areas.
The programme introduces science through practical and engaging classroom-based lessons and is designed to encourage 6th class primary school students to continue with science as they transition to second level. Labour market data show that Ireland continues to experience a skills shortage in the STEM sector despite major growth and employment opportunities. Volunteers from organisations around the country will be recruited, trained and supported by JAI to facilitate the in-classroom programme fostering students’ interest in STEM subjects.
The programme consists of five modules and, importantly, will de delivered through the medium of Irish in primary schools in the Gaeltacht.
The Government Chief Whip and the Minister of State with responsibility for Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the Islands Joe McHugh, TD, said “I commend Údarás na Gaeltachta and Junior Achievement Ireland for establishing this innovative project. It is important that we encourage and provide the Gaeltacht’s younger generation with the skills to enable them to realise their vision for the Gaeltacht”.
Údarás na Gaeltachta Chief Executive, Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh also said “It is important for Údarás na Gaeltachta to encourage the Gaeltacht’s younger generation to move towards innovation and spark an interest in these sectors through their native language. They are our future entrepreneurs and scientists and they will create and develop the Gaeltacht of the future. Údarás na Gaeltachta intends to build on this project and extend it, if possible, in the future”.
Helen Raftery, CEO of JAI added: “We are delighted to have the support of the Minister of State with responsibility for Gaeilge and Gaeltacht as well as Údarás na Gaeltachta. It is critical that industry and education come together to excite young people about studying science and the skills required for success. It is through the support of partners like Údarás na Gaeltachta that we are able to connect our students with business volunteers who in turn share their insights and expertise, linking the classroom and the ‘real-world’ to enhance their learning experience.”