OVER 70% OF IRISH STUDENTS FEEL THAT THEIR OPINIONS ARE IGNORED BY ADULTS

Dublin, Tuesday 11th September 2012: School students are today being called on to enter the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition by Monday 1st October and showcase their ideas for a better future to the public.  In a new survey commissioned by the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, the clear message was that students desperately want their opinions and ideas to be heard.  Over 200 students, aged between 12 and 19, from across the island of Ireland participated in the survey which showed that more than 70% of students feel that adults today do not value their opinions.

When asked whether they thought school was harder for their parents or themselves, 65% of those surveyed maintain that school today is harder for students with an increased amount of pressure to get an excellent leaving certificate and to secure a place in university.

Over three quarters of the students surveyed believe that schools in urban areas have a distinct edge over their rural counterparts citing funding, facilities and access to universities as the main advantages.

The students were asked to recount recent events from their community or country which made them proud. More than 100 students referenced Irish sporting successes such as Katie Taylor’s Olympic gold medal, individual county GAA triumphs or the success of the Irish Paralympic team as the reasons for creating a sense of pride for them.  A number of students indicated that they were proud of Ireland’s ability to cope with the economic downturn.

Other notable findings include:

  • 52% of students cited the jobs crisis as the main obstacle standing in the way of their chosen career
  • 57% of participants selected medicine, pharmacy or dentistry as their first choice career preference
  • 59% of students maintain that money is the biggest barrier to going on to 3rd level education with 33% of those surveyed citing getting the grades required as an obstacle to attending university
  •  62% of participants believe that people will not be reading newspapers in 2020
  • 80% of those surveyed selected ‘online’ as the main source they receive their information from above books (9%), television (7%) and radio (2%)*
  • 66% of participants  disclosed that they are not encouraged down a route of entrepreneurship with the traditional professions still largely endorsed
  • 50% of students do not feel part of the community where they live

Peter Morris, Corporate Services Director, BT Ireland commented: “As organisers of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, we’ve seen firsthand the phenomenal response from young people when they are given the platform to make a contribution.  For that one week a year in the RDS they can bring their ideas, energy, creative thinking and problem solving skills to bear at the exhibition.  With so much potential to offer, and with over 70% feeling that they are not listened to, we should really examine what channels we are providing for our young people to give their views on issues that will impact them now and for many years into the future.”

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, which takes place in Dublin from January 9th – 13th 2013, is organised by BT Ireland, and is supported by a number of valued partners including Analog Devices, Elan, Intel, the Department of Education & Skills and RTE.  For more information on the exhibition, log onto www.btyoungscientist.com.

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