Junior Cert technical graphics and materials technology
Across Ireland, just 1,801 (14.3 %) of the 12,553 students who sat the paper were girls
16,720 students sat the materials technology (woodwork) paper, of whom 13 per cent were girls. Photograph: David Sleator
St Brigid’s, a girls’ secondary school in Killarney, Co Kerry, bucked the national trend when 30 of its students sat the Junior Cert technical graphics paper. Across Ireland, just 1,801 (14.3 per cent) of the 12,553 students who sat the paper were girls.
Michael Horan, ASTI representative and a technical graphics teacher at the school, said that it was relatively unusual for girls to take the subject in such numbers, but that the school’s management had tried to develop a well-rounded education for its students and to open up opportunities for the girls to study engineering at third level.
“The higher and ordinary level papers were well received by students,” Mr Horan said. “They were fair and pitched at the appropriate level. At higher level, the paper was well structured to reward candidates who are given wide exposure to the syllabus.”
Higher-level students were asked to construct drawings around a music app for a smartphone, a logo for an animal shelter and part of a car dashboard, while ordinary level students constructed designs around everyday objects including hammers and staplers. Meanwhile, 16,720 students sat the materials technology (woodwork) paper, of whom 13 per cent were girls.
Last April, all woodwork students submitted their practical examination, which constitutes 66 per cent of their marks.
For the practical exam, students were challenged to design an item to give to a motivational or iconic figure, living or dead, of their choice.
Noel Scott, ASTI subject representative and a teacher at Loreto Community School in Donegal, said that this year’s theory papers were interesting and relevant to students.
At higher level, students were asked to design a unit to hold a remote control and magazines, and were also asked about the sustainable use of forests and hardwoods.
On the ordinary level paper, students were set a variety of relevant and interesting challenges, including designing a wooden mobile phone holder and a pet-feeding station, Mr Scott said.