Call for official recognition of out-of-school Stem programmes

Head of Dublin’s Digital Hub to highlight importance of informal programmes

A recent survey found that a third of second-level students said they had no interest in science or technology.

A recent survey found that a third of second-level students said they had no interest in science or technology.


Informal out-of-school science, technology, education and mathematics (Stem) learning programmes should be officially recognised and integrated into the educational curriculum, according to the head of Dublin’s Digital Hub.

In a speech to be delivered on Thursday, Fiach Mac Conghail, the former senator and director of the Abbey Theatre, who took over as chief executive of the hub last September, is to highlight the role that after-school Stem programmes can play in inspiring young people to further study in related areas.

“Informal programmes must form part of the solution to the problem of limited interest, proficiency and engagement of many Irish young people in Stem subjects in school and future careers,” said Mr Mac Conghail.

Future Creators

His comments come as 24 young people are to receive special certificates of recognition at a graduation ceremony for their participation in the Digital Hub’s Future Creators programme. The initiative, now in its sixth year, aims to equip young people (aged 13-16) from the local area with digital skills such as coding, app development, digital photography, film-making and website development.

The Digital Hub, which is based in the Liberties, is home to nearly 100 growing digital companies. It runs the Future Creators programme in association with the National College of Art and Design.

Mr Mac Conghail also called for increased use of digital technologies and other creative teaching material to further encourage Stem learning.

A recent survey conducted by BT to mark the launch of the 2018 BT Young Scientists and Technology Exhibition, found that 40 per cent of students do not study science subjects at Leaving Cert level or go on to it at third-level because they considered it too difficult.

The research also revealed that a third of students said they had no interest whatsoever in science or technology.