Education Cuts will Hinder Ag Science in Rural Schools

Chairman of Macra na Feirme’s Rural Youth Initiative committee Ger Griffin commenting on the Ministers for Education Ruairi Quinn’s proposed reform of education said he is concerned that any potential loss of teaching posts will have a knock on effect on the delivery of science and minority subjects such as agricultural science in rural schools.

In the upcoming battle over cost savings and reducing teaching resources Mr Griffin fears it could have a negative impact on the delivery and choice of science subjects especially agricultural science for rural young people. Currently, it is estimated that 6,000 students study agricultural science.

Mr Griffin said, “Young rural people should have access to science subjects from an early age as science plays an important role in innovation and the development of the rural economy and the Agri-food sectors. Therefore, there is an onus on the Minister to promote science subjects and ensure sufficient resource are available in rural schools for its delivery otherwise it will end up downgraded and less students will opt for science related courses at third level. The rural economy needs young highly educated people to ensure sectors such as the Agriculture and Food industry have the personnel, scientific skills and qualifications to make it a world class leading edge industry.”

“There have been repeated calls for the current agricultural science curriculum to be modernised as the current syllabus is in existence for over 40 years. Agricultural science has advanced and developed enormously in Ireland, we have a excellent record for scientific advancement and innovation over that time frame and reform of the syllabus must be delivered by the Minister”.