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Written Answers. - School Curriculum.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 56. Mr. S. Ryan Information on Seán Ryan Zoom on Seán Ryan  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  if it is intended to implement the recommendation of the task force on physical sciences that science should be a compulsory subject for all junior certificate students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26714/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment advises on the curriculum for primary and post-primary schools. Science is now a part of the curriculum for all primary school students. The vast majority of students – 89% – take science as part of their junior cycle course. There are only five small schools that do not offer science as part of the junior certificate programme. The NCCA, in its interim report on the review of junior cycle published in 1998, advised that all students should study science in the future. To this end, the NCCA has just completed its review of junior cycle science. I understand that a new, more attractive science syllabus will be presented to my Department shortly for its approval.

All pupils should have an opportunity to study science at junior cycle level and they should be encouraged to do so. This aim can best be [1501]realised through persuasion rather than by compulsion. I am confident that the introduction of the new junior certificate science syllabus and the other measures already in place in support of the sciences will raise participation rates in junior certificate science, particularly by girls. This will be in all schools and at the very high levels which we all agree are desirable.

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