STEM - There is a disconnect in the Executive

Judith Harvey was recently appointed as general manager of W5. She explained to the Gavin Walker on behalf of the Northern Ireland business magazine Business First the importance of science in schools. She said:
"Science, Technology and Maths (STEM) is relevant to everybody, every day - and that's what we have to impart to our young people before they have made academic decisions that close the doors on potential career paths. Too often our students in both primary and post-primary, are taught the process of science, but not the relevance it has to their lives."
Science is obligatory to GCSE in schools in UK and Ireland, this is not the case in Northern Ireland. Asked if Stormont is failing students, Judith said:
"There is a disconnect in the Executive. Where one part says that STEM is the economic driver for the economy, and we have to put the economy at the centre of everything we do, another part allows science to drop down the educational hierarchy. This send out a contradictory message about STEM to pupils, teachers and parents."


  1. NI21 needs to take the opportunity of not being in government yet to shake up thinking on a range of issues, and education should be right at the top of the list.
    Our children are learning languages - great - but the one language that it is almost impossible to learn in school is java - the most useful computer language of all. Has anyone seen posters advertising jobs for French or German speakers? No? I have seen lots of large companies trying to find computer coders - and they have posts to fill today.
    The smart kids are still being pushed towards medicine. Now I want my doctor to be smart, but that does not mean that every young person who looks like they are going to get great grades should be encouraged along the traditional routes of medicine, law or accountancy. Push them along the creative paths, tech, movies, television, innovation. We don't need all our talented people being pushed into traditional sectors - our economy needs to be for the 21st Century not the 19th.
    The selection argument is the wrong one, the debate should be on what is the right curriculum for the student and the country.

  2. Not pushing the importance of STEM in education is unacceptable. I heard earlier today that in NEELB, some schools make RE compulsary for GCSE. This is not board policy, rather specific schools pushing their own agenda. If this is the case, the potential is that the sciences are discouraged over a more faith based education.