Science and teaching


Sir, – Dr Yvonne Kavanagh of the Institute of Physics Ireland (“Time to focus on science and research”,Letters, February 5th) rightly asserts that in order to put science and innovation at the forefront of our national development, it is imperative to ensure that every second-level student has access to a specialist physics teacher.

The political class claims to understand there is a particular shortage of science teachers. Indeed, we constantly hear the same old platitudes about “the knowledge economy”.

However, still we see no action despite this problem having persisted for years. This problem is not restricted to my own subject area. Languages and home economics also face similar issues.

Instead of tackling the problem head-on and putting in place tangible actions, the out-of-touch elite seem more focused on mitigating cost and sticking-plaster solutions. The scientists of tomorrow cannot come into being if they do not have the well-trained teachers to give them high-quality learning experiences in the classroom.

Lack of job security, poor pay, increasing levels of excessive and demoralising accountability are the three main barriers to addressing these shortages. These can all be remedied, given the political will. Unfortunately, judging by this election campaign, the political will does not seem to exist in any of the main parties. – Yours, etc,



Co Offaly.