• Question: Do you think every student in ireland should have to do science without a choice?

    Asked by sarahbrannigan to Aggelos, Andrew, Eileen, Naomi, Shane on 12 Nov 2012.
    • Photo: Aggelos Zacharopoulos

      Aggelos Zacharopoulos answered on 12 Nov 2012:

      @sarahbrannigan, the obvious answer is NO.

      There is no point forcing anybody to do science. Science is an important subject to study as it is related to so many things in our modern life. But it is only one of the subjects that you can study at school.

    • Photo: Eileen Diskin

      Eileen Diskin answered on 12 Nov 2012:

      Hi Sarah!

      Thats a really tough question. In some ways, I think yes. Because you don’t know until you try something whether you’ll like it or not. But then when a student has tried it, they should be able to decide.

      But what I really think, is that maybe what could change is HOW science is taught. Science is a massive subject area, and a lot of what is taught in schools is maybe not as exciting as some of the things that scientists are doing to solve real life questions. I think that students should be given more power to decide what bits they want to learn, and to come up with their own questions and do their own experiments to find an answer – instead of just learning a lot of things from textbooks! I hope that makes sense?!


    • Photo: Andrew Jackson

      Andrew Jackson answered on 12 Nov 2012:

      I think yes, up to a point. Much like its important for everyone to know some basic maths, english and irish, I think that science is so fundamental to all our lives that everyone should understand the basics. All sorts of people would be better at their jobs with a knowledge of basic science, e.g. lawyers, politicians, engineers. Also, since a lot of science is paid for by the tax-payer, then they have a right to know what we do with the money, and i think they would understand us better if everyone got some science when they were young!

    • Photo: Shane Bergin

      Shane Bergin answered on 13 Nov 2012:

      I don’t like to say anything should be done without a choice. What I do think is that we need far more science thinking in all our subjects. the ability to figure stuff out without having to learn stuff off by heart. I do think that schools have a duty to offer the science subjects to students. Physics is often one of the first subjects to be cut in all-girls schools when numbers aren’t great. that’s a real pity!

    • Photo: Naomi Elster

      Naomi Elster answered on 17 Nov 2012:

      Yes, but only up to a point. You never know whether something will interest you or not until you’ve tried it 🙂 In my school, everyone did science for first year, and then made a choice to keep it or drop it. I think this is a good way to go. I’d like it if everyone had a higher general level of science too as I think it would make them healthier – they could better understand what they are eating, and engage more with their doctors when they are sick. Also, science is often misrepresented in the media, which is made easy by the fact that a lot of people don’t understand it.

      But I don’t necessarily think that everyone should be made do it for the leaving cert – some people don’t like science and find it very difficult, and you’re under enough pressure as it is without having to do a subject you don’t really want to do. What I’d like to see is much more opportunities for people to learn about science outside of the school system, through high-quality but entertaining magazines, websites and workshops, and for people to be encouraged to think about science rather than learning it. A lot of research is paid for by the public, whether through taxes or donations to charity, and the public has a right to know what we are doing with their money.