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National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning


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Professor John O' Donoghue, Director of NCE-MSTL, UL President, Professor Don Barry, Sarah Hayes Project Officer UL, Dr. George McClelland, Director NCE-MSTL and Eamonn Stack, Chief Inspector, pictured at the official opening of the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning at the University of Limerick.

Low Numbers Studying Mathematics and Science to be Addressed by the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning 

The National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching & Learning (NCE-MSTL) was officially opened today at the University of Limerick. The key objectives of the NCE-MSTL are to address the teaching and learning of mathematics and science with the aim to increasing student uptake of these subjects and increasing their levels of achievement at primary and secondary school levels through to third and fourth levels. 

Established under the aegis of the Shannon Consortium which is a collaborative group involving, the University of Limerick (UL), Mary Immaculate College (MIC), Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) and Institute of Technology Tralee (ITT), the centre will utilise the mathematics and science expertise available at all four institutions.  This nationally important project is funded through HEA Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) Cycle 2 in response to national policy that has identified the critical need to stimulate interest in science and mathematics at all levels of the educational spectrum as a key enabler of Ireland's future knowledge economy.

Speaking at the launch the President of UL Professor Don Barry said "Ireland's success as a knowledge economy requires larger numbers of students to follow courses in science, technology, and engineering. Higher Level Mathematics is an essential requirement for many third-level courses in these areas.  However, the number of students taking mathematics remains worryingly low.  If the number of students studying mathematics and science at the appropriate levels does not increase, then Ireland will face extreme difficulties in establishing itself as a Knowledge Economy.  This National Centre will promote and develop mathematics and science teaching and learning at all levels with the ultimate objective of raising national achievement levels in these subjects right across the board."

Currently the number of students studying Higher Level Mathematics at Leaving Certificate is at 18%, a drastic drop from the Junior Certificate Higher Level Mathematics figure of 42%.  The Centre proposes to increase these figures through initiatives in good teaching practice which are essential to improving proficiency.  The National Centre for Excellence is also addressing the poor uptake in the physical sciences where only 7000 students on average study the Physics and Chemistry subjects.

The recent National Competitive Council (NCC) report recognises that the quality of teaching of mathematics at both primary and second level is essential to improving mathematics proficiency.  The Centre aims to design and deliver continuing professional development programmes in mathematics and science teaching to develop teachers' subject knowledge which will ultimately contribute to improved national mathematics and science performance.  Active research into good teaching practice as well as informing and advising educators is at the forefront of the National Centre for Excellence's mission.

Publications of research will be disseminated to staff rooms to inform teachers of innovative teaching and learning which will enable them to transfer these practices into their own classrooms and thus enhance the teaching experience and the student learning experience.  Teaching and learning support and research as well as CPD deliveries will also be available nationally through the NCE- MSTL website www.nce-mstl.ie

The support from all stakeholders; teachers, educators, third level institutions, government bodies, policy bodies and industries in this most important initiative is essential for the success of the NCE-MSTL and staff at the Centre are seeking to develop more collaborative relationships with other third-level institutions throughout the country. The continued commitment by Government in supporting the establishment of the NCE-MSTL will help to drive future national success which depends critically on the supply of people with mathematics, science, engineering and technology skills.

The Centre is directed by Professor John O'Donoghue and Dr. George McClelland who are supported by Associate Directors Dr. Peter Childs, Chemistry and Mr. Frank McGourty, Biological Science. The Directors and associate Directors are recognised nationally and internationally in their respective fields.   

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UL President, Professor Don Barry, Sarah Hayes Project Officer UL, Dr. George McClelland, Director NCE-MSTL and Eamonn Stack, Chief Inspector, pictured at the official opening of the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning at the University of Limerick.

Ionad Náisiúnta Barr Feabhais na Matamaitice, na Foghlama agus Theagasc na hEolaíochta le aghaidh a thabhairt ar an líon íseal atá ag staidéar na Matamaitice agus na hEolaíochta 

Osclaíodh go hoifigiúil Ionad Náisiúnta Barr Feabhais na Matamaitice, na Foghlama agus Theagasc na hEolaíochta (NCE-MSTL) in Ollscoil Luimnigh inniu.  Is iad príomhchuspóirí an NCE-MSTL tabhairt faoi mhúineadh agus foghlaim na matamaitice agus na heolaíochta d'fhonn cur le lion na mac léinn sna hábhair seo agus d'fhonn cur lena ndul chun cinn sa bhunscoil agus sa mheánscoil agus uaidh sin isteach sa tríú agus sa cheathrú leibhéal.  

Bunaíodh an tIonad le cuidiú Chuibhreannas na Sionna, buíon chomhoibríoch ina bhfuil Ollscoil Luimnigh (UL), Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál (MIC), Institiúid Teicneolaíochta Luimnigh (ITL) agus Institiúid Teicneolaíochta Thrá Lí (ITT). Bainfidh an t-ionad feidhm as taithí eolaíochta agus matamaitice gach ceann de na ceithre institiúid.  Maoineofar an tionscnamh seo, atá tábhachtach ar bonn náisiúnta, trí Shraith 2 de Chiste Nuálaíochta Straitéiseach (SIF) an HEA mar chuid den dúnghaois a leagan béim ar spreagadh spéise san eolaíocht agus sa mhatamaitic ar gach leibhéal de réimsí oideachais na tíre. Eochair do chroílár geilleagair an eolais in Éirinn amach anseo atá ann. 

Dúirt Uachtarán UL, an tOllamh Don Barry, ag an oscailt "I ngeall ar rath gheilleagar an eolais in Éirinn, is gá cur le líon na mac léinn a leanfas cúrsaí eolaíochta, teicneolaíochta agus innealltóireachta.  Is bunriachtanas í an Mhatamaitic Ardleibhéil le haghaidh a lán cúrsaí tríú leibhéal sna réimsí seo.  Is údar buairimh, áfach, laghad sin na mac léinn a ghlacann leis an matamaitic.   Mura méadaíonn líon na mac léinn i staidéar na matamaitice agus na heolaíochta ag na leibhéil chuí, beidh sé fíordheacair ag Éirinn í féin a chruthú ina Geilleagar Eolais.   Forbróidh agus cuirfidh an tIonad Náisiúnta seo leis an matamaitic agus le múineadh agus foghlaim na heolaíochta ag gach leibhéal le barrchuspóir na leibhéal mórghnímh náisiúnta a ardú sna hábhair seo ar fad." 

18% de mhic léinn atá ag dul don Ardleibhéal Matamaitice san Ardteistiméireacht faoi láthair, titim thubaisteach ón líon 42% ag an Ardleibhéal Matamaitice sa Teastas Sóisearach.  Tá beartaithe ag an Ionad cur leis na huimhreacha seo trí nuáil i modhanna maithe teagaisc atá riachtanach leis an gcumas a fheabhsú.   Tá an tIonad Náisiúnta Barr Feabhais ag dul i ngleic freisin leis an líon íseal a ghlacann áit sna heolaíochtaí fisice. Ní ghlacann ach 7,000 mac léinn ar an meán leis an bhFisic agus leis an gCeimic.

D'aithin tuairisc na Comhairle Iomaíochta Náisiúnta (NCC) ar na mallaibh caighdeán teagaisc na matamaitice sa bhunscoil agus sa mheánscoil araon mar bhunriachtanas i bhfeabhsú oilteachta sa mhatamaitic.   Tá sé d'aidhm ag an Ionad cláir phroifisiúnta leanúnacha a dhearadh is a fhorbairt sa mhatamaitic agus i múineadh na heolaíochta chun cur le heolas na múinteoirí ar a n-ábhar sa tslí go cuirfear i ndeireadh báire le feidhmiú na matamaitice agus na heolaíochta ar bhonn náisiúnta.  Is dlúthchuid de mhisean an Ionad Náisiúnta Barr Feabhais é an taighde gníomhach i ndea-mhodhanna teagaisc agus an t-aos oideachais a chomhairliú agus a choimeád ar an eolas.

Seolfar foilsiúcháin taighde chuig seomraí foirne chun múinteoirí a chur ar an eolas faoi nuáil teagaisc agus foghlama. Cabhróidh sé seo leo na modhanna sin a thabhairt isteach ina gcuid ranganna féin, rud a chuideoidh le taithí na múinteoireachta agus le taithí foghlama an mhic léinn.   Beidh fáil ar thacaíocht mhúinte, foghlama agus thaighde chomh maith le seachadadh CPD go náisiúnta trí shuíomh an NCE-MSTL ag www.nce-mstle.ie 

Is den riachtanas é tacaíocht gach ball cuibhreannais, gach múinteora, oideachasóra, na bhforas tríú leibhéal, na n-eagras rialtais, na bhforas dúnghaoise chomh maith le tacaíocht na dtionscal a bheith ag an tionscnamh fíorthábhachtach seo chun ratha an NCE-MSTL. Tá foireann an Ionaid ag iarraidh tuilleadh comhoibrithe a fhorbairt le forais tríú leibhéal eile ó cheann ceann na tíre.   Cuideoidh tiomantas an Rialtais ina seasamh le bunú an NCE-MSTL leis an rath náisiúnta amach anseo, rath a bhraitheann go grinn ar sholáthar daoine oilte sa mhatamaitic, san eolaíocht, san innealltóireacht agus sa teicneolaíocht.  

Tá an tIonad á stiúradh ag an Ollamh John O Donoghue agus ag an Dr. George McClelland a bhfuil taca na Comh-Stiúrthóirí acu, an Dr. Peter Childs, Ceimic, agus an tUas. Frank McGourty, Bitheolaíocht.  Tá cáil ar na Stiúrthóirí agus ar na Comh-Stiúrthóirí sa tír seo agus thar lear, gach duine acu ina réimse ar leith féin.  


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