By Meraj Abid
Dublin-Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD and Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD have today, launched the STEM Education Implementation Plan to 2026. This is the second implementation plan as part of the STEM Education Policy Statement 2017–2026. The Implementation Plan focusses on the many strengths in STEM education, while also providing a roadmap to address the areas for development. It sets out ambitious objectives and actions required to achieve and improve the STEM education experience for all learners from early learning and care to post-primary level.
Minister Foley said
“I am delighted to be launching the STEM Education Implementation Plan to 2026. I get to experience first-hand the importance of high-quality STEM education in the many schools I visit. I know that having access to these STEM experiences can have a lasting impact on children and young people and can set the stage for their later engagement in these fields. The implementation plan we are launching today is a result of an extensive and wide-ranging consultation process and I want to thank school communities, business and industry, academia but most importantly, children and young people, for helping shape this plan.
“With this plan, we are building on the success of the STEM Education Implementation Plan 2017-2019 which includes the development of new professional learning and collaboration opportunities for early learning and care settings and schools to ensure that they feel fully equipped to lead on STEM education.”
Minister O’Gorman said
“The STEM Education Policy Statement 2017-2026 acknowledges that there is a need to enhance STEM learning for learners of all backgrounds, abilities and gender, from early learning and care through to post-primary. The focus on STEM in early learning and care settings highlights how important that first engagement with education is for young children. Our early years educators have an important role in this Implementation Plan and will be supported through Continuing Professional Development.”
The Policy Statement vision for STEM education is that, ‘Ireland will be internationally recognised as providing the highest quality STEM education experience for learners that nurtures curiosity, inquiry, problem-solving, creativity, ethical behaviour, confidence, and persistence, along with the excitement of collaborative innovation.’
Central to achieving this vision is the ambition to deliver systematic improvement in STEM education across the continuum of education from early learning and care to post-primary level. In order to achieve this the areas for policy development and action, as identified in the Policy Statement, span four pillars:
Pillar 1. Nurture learner engagement and participation
Pillar 2. Enhance early years educator and teacher skills
Pillar 3. Support STEM education practice
Pillar 4. Use evidence to support STEM education
There are 45 actions across each of these pillars in the STEM Education Implementation Plan to 2026. The document can be found here – gov.ie – STEM Education Policy (www.gov.ie)