Town picked as maths and science hub

A CORK town is set to become a national centre of excellence for the teaching of maths and science as part of a major recession-busting initiative.

Mallow in Co Cork is also set to benefit from a raft of cutting-edge next-generation wireless and medical device research which is being conducted at both Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and University College Cork (UCC).

Key business and community leaders from the region were told at the launch yesterday of the “Mallow: Join the Move” project at the town’s GAA club the Government’s smart economy vision will only be realised if there is a steady supply of well-trained talent, especially people with mathematics, science, engineering and technology skills. The education element of the project will help the country achieve that, they were told.

As part of the multi-agency collaboration devised by Mallow Development Partnership, Mallow will become the country’s lead school district for researching and piloting new approaches to the teaching of maths and science in the classrooms at both primary and secondary-level.

The results of the pilot study will shape national policy on how maths and science are taught in every classroom.

All the primary and second-level schools in the Mallow district have been partnered with the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL), based at the University of Limerick (UL).

Specially-appointed research staff, supported by NCE-MSTL directors and project officers, will run the four-year programme in each of Mallow’s schools and explore new approaches to the teaching of maths and science. The project aims to:

nIncrease the uptake of the sciences and mathematics at all levels.

nImprove the quality of the student experience and achievement levels at primary, junior cycle and senior cycle.

nEngage the town’s science and maths teachers in professional training in teaching and learning practices and methodologies in mathematics and science for the classroom.

nDevelop special Continuous Professional Development (CPD) courses for teachers that will be delivered online across the country.

nFoster collaborative teaching across subjects within the schools and across schools.

Those backing the project expect the schools initiative to contribute to the development of future economic success in the Mallow district in the long-term.

But the town has also partnered its businesses with both CIT and UCC.

Over the coming years’ research, CIT will use Mallow to test technology in areas such as energy management, wireless systems, medical technologies, and sensor networks.

The institute is finalising a programme for collaborative research with local companies under the Nimbus Programme which has already attracted the interest of up to 30 local companies.

CIT has also pledged to work with Mallow Town Council to deploy a cluster of wireless monitoring and control units in the town as part of a research project into a ‘smart light networking’ project.

The units could support street-level wi-fi access points; facilitate heritage trail tourism; and analyse footfall trends for local retailers.

The medical faculties at UL and UCC have entered an agreement with Mallow’s new Primary Health Care Centre on the placement of students as part of GP education programmes.

There are also plans for the centre to become a focus for collaborative medical research.

Under various local, regional and national plans, Mallow is a designated site for significant population growth of up to 30,000 people by 2020.

Under the National Spatial Strategy (NSS), it is designated as a hub town and is expected to act as a major centre of employment and population growth in the North Cork region, stimulating the surrounding smaller areas as well as supporting Cork city as a gateway for national and international linkages.

Mallow Development Partnership features a range of local business, statutory and community interests including Cork County Council, Mallow Town Council, Mallow Chamber of Commerce, Avondhu Blackwater Partnership, North Cork Enterprise Board and RAPID.

* www.mallow.ie


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