The NCCA have officially launched the Computer Science subject specifications which is the newest Leaving Cert subject going into pilot phase this year. This follows soon after the launch of Politics and Society and the annoucement of another new subject, Physical Education which are to be added to the array of Leaving Cert subjects offered to second level students.
These new subjects are a welcome transition from the traditional academic fields of study that forms the basis of subject offerings from the majority of second level schools. For the first time students will be awarded CAO points for their prowess in the world of sport and fitness. Inquisitive students with an interest in current affairs can exploit their interest by studying Politics and Society. And crucially the introduction of Computer Science will hopefully entice more school leavers to take up further studies in the IT sector and in so doing address the continual skills shortage in this sector.
Leaving Certificate Computer Science will be introduced, on a phased basis, to schools in September 2018. Fifth-year students across 40 pilot schools are currently learning the subject, with the first Leaving Cert exam in computer science set to take place in June 2019. Computer Science is due to be made available to all schools across the State from September 2020 onwards.
Leaving Certificate Computer Science aims to develop and foster the learner’s creativity and problem solving, along with their ability to work both independently and collaboratively. Students will apply the fundamental practices and concepts of computer science and develop an appreciation of the diverse role of computing technology in society and the environment in which they live.
The introduction of the subject at Leaving Certificate level will help to drive interest in computer science courses at third-level and reassure industry that the necessary workforce skills are being developed and talent needs addressed.
The computer-based exam will constitute 70% of the student's total grade, with the remaining 30% awarded for a project completed in school.
The computer science course aims to teach students to be creative, adaptive learners and to employ flexible, solution-oriented thinking.
To find out more about Leaving Cert Computer Science click here.
The Physical Education course will feature theoretical and practical sections. The two sections are interlinked, with the knowledge gained in the theoretical section enabling the student to improve his/her performance in the practical assessments.
PE is a good option for students with a talent for physical activity; for these students, the course could be a valuable source of leaving cert points. It is also a good option for students faced with sacrificing sports or other activities to make time for their leaving cert preparation, the Physical Education course offers a way to balance the two.
The course should suit physically active students who are engaged in individual or team sports as well as activities such as dance and gymnastics. It is also a suitable option for students who plan to pursue a career in sports and fitness occupations, such as physiotherapy, physical training or sports coaching. Sports need not be a career goal to justify taking the course, the course content will benefit any student for whom participation in sports or dance makes up a significant part of their day to day lives.
The closing date for schools applying for the pilot stage of this subject was the 16th January and selected schools are due to be announced soon. The plan is to roll out the first pilot in this subject in September 2018.
For full details on Leaving Cert PE click here.
Students in about 25 schools are currently studying Leaving Cert Politics and Society and will be the first to sit the exam in June 2018.
Students learn about power and decision-making at local and international level, and about human rights and globalisation. The course will include a focus on voting systems in the Oireachtas, ownership and control of the media, and definitions such as social class and patriarchy.
The subject will be assessed through a written exam (80%) of marks and it will also involve a citizenship project undertaken by individual students which will attract 20% of final marks.
Politics & Society is a challenging and rewarding subject. It will suit any student who is interested in areas such as human rights, equality, diversity, sustainable development, power and democratic decision-making. Politics & Society is a useful subject to take for those who wish to study politics or sociology or other courses such as law, anthropology, philosophy, development studies, media studies, and many more.
To find out more about Leaving Cert Politics and Society click here.
If you would like more help making your Leaving Cert subject choices you can access the Guide to Leaving Cert Subject Choices on careersportal.ie