Are school-leavers rejecting science?

They are according to this article in the Examiner. However, let’s look at the data. The table below gives the number of first preferences for each ‘discipline’ after the February and July deadline. The % change is based on the February. Overall, there was an increase in total first preferences of 9.7% between February and July and that’s because many students express no preference in February – they effectively just get themselves registered on the system.

I’ll leave it up to you to make sense of all this.  However, it’s hard to make and argument that students are rejecting science. I suspect that if you look back over the last 5 to ten years, you’ll probably find that science is more or less at it’s natural level – and that doesn’t change a whole lot from year to year.

Incidentally, I wish the CAO would publish the July data on their website and do so every year. They do this for the February data so why not July? And why not put the data in Excel form?



July Feb % change
Built Environment 662 473 40.0
Engineering/Technology 7920 6838 15.8
Admin/Business 12750 11021 15.7
Arts 16485 14459 14.0
Ag/Hort 591 532 11.1
Dentistry 353 319 10.7
Science/Appl Science 9272 8503 9.0
Pharmacy 349 325 7.4
Education 4932 4686 5.2
Nursing 5620 5376 4.5
Law 2811 2694 4.3
Other Healthcare 2464 2369 4.0
Architecture 786 756 4.0
Art/Design 2348 2274 3.3
Physiotherapy 766 784 -2.3
Medicine 2937 3273 -10.3
Veterinary 549 612 -10.3

About Greg Foley

A lecturer in Biotechnology in Dublin City University for more than 25 years. Trained as a Chemical Engineer in UCD (BE and PhD) and Cornell (MS). Does research on analysis and design of membrane filtration systems.
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One Response to Are school-leavers rejecting science?

  1. Pingback: Ninth Level Ireland » Blog Archive » Are school-leavers rejecting science?

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