Students looking outside classroom to learn about IT

Given the opportunity, what would you ask the Government to change? That was just one of the questions put to students in a research study released by the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Mayo students were amongst those from secondary schools throughout Ireland who took the opportunity to reflect on their education and hopes for their future.

Almost half of those surveyed believe that science and technology are the areas that offer the most opportunities for entrepreneurs setting up a business in Ireland. However, three quarters of all those surveyed believed that information technology is not adequately taught in their school, and the majority of students surveyed have turned to the internet or their friends to learn more about technology.

The recession, increased competition for college places and emigration are weighing heavily on their minds, with 81 per cent of students agreeing that the strain of the recession is creating additional pressure for them to achieve high marks. Eighty-six per cent of students surveyed agreed that in order to pull Ireland through the economic downturn, continued investment in research and development was paramount.

Students recognise the importance of knowing how to run a business and of entrepreneurship, and are not shying away from hard work - one-third of those surveyed agree that shortening the length of summer holidays would benefit their education. An encouraging 72 per cent of students surveyed felt that a compulsory 'business know-how' class would help prepare them for the working world.

Other notable findings include medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry are seen as the most popular career choices; the least popular were sales and marketing.

Forty-six per cent felt more positive about their future career prospects.

Education, followed by employment, were the two most popular types of questions that students would ask new Government leaders if they had the chance.

Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Cullen and Steve Jobs were voted as the most popular inspirational entrepreneurs.

Colm O’Neill, Managing Director, Business, BT Ireland commented: “The research highlights how aware the younger generation are of the issues Ireland faces. Through our work with them at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, we are always so impressed by how focused they are on solutions rather than the problems. It is essential that we encourage this positive attitude and provide them the know-how, skills and confidence they will need to become the next generation of leaders in uncertain times.”

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will take place in Dublin from January 11 – 15 2012. For more information on the exhibition, check out www.facebook.com/BTYSTE or twitter.com/btyste or www.btyoungscientist.com

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