29th Mar 2016

Computer Science finally on the way for Leaving Cert students

Second-level students will finally get an opportunity to do computer science in the Leaving Certificate.

Government education advisers have started exploratory work on the introduction of the subject, which is regarded as an increasingly important area of learning for students. However it will take some years for computer science to become a reality on the Leaving Cert curriculum and will require input from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

Up until now, Irish children and teenagers with an aptitude for computing have had to depend on the network of voluntary clubs, known as CoderDojo, to develop their programming skills.

Core components of computer science will make their way on to the Junior Cycle curriculum from September, with a short course in coding. Although only a limited number of schools will be equipped to teach coding this autumn, it will quickly become more widely available.

The NCCA recently started the groundwork on the options, including looking at international best practice.

Dublin City University (DCU) president Professor Brian MacCraith is a strong advocate of the introduction of computing to the curriculum for second level students.

He chaired an expert group on Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) education. Its report has yet to be published, but it is understood also to call for computer science as a Leaving Cert subject. Welcoming the NCCA’s work, Prof MacCraith told the Irish Independent that it was “crucially important” that the proposed new subject be computer science/coding, rather than a more general one on digital competency.

Prof MacCraith said Coderdojo showed the enthusiasm and aptitude Irish children and teenagers had for coding: “We need to build on that.”

Full story here.