Science and its applications are fundamental to the way in which we live our lives today. Science education seeks to equip young people to live in a world that is increasingly scientifically and technologically orientated. Indeed, the goal of “scientific literacy for all” has become a primary objective of a general education. The introduction of the revised syllabus for junior cycle Science in 2003 was one of a number of steps taken by the Department of Education and Science to enhance teaching and learning in the subject and to improve student uptake of Science generally.
The syllabus is activity-based in its design, and emphasises that students have to engage in a variety of investigations and experiments so that that they have opportunities to develop appropriate science process skills as well as knowledge of underlying concepts. The introduction of the syllabus was complemented by substantial expenditure by the Department of Education and Science on improved laboratory facilities in schools and by the work of the Junior Science Support Service, which provided professional development programmes for teachers.