Last week, the DCU Access Programme welcomed 15 teams of second year students representing six north Dublin linked secondary schools for the first in a series of two Access Maths Quizzes, kindly sponsored by media giant Oath.
The maths quizzes are a key part of efforts by DCU’s Access Programme to encourage students from socio-economically disadvantaged areas to view higher level education as a possibility and to encourage students to achieve the mathematics grades required to enter university. Speaking at the event, Susan Hawkins, DCU Access Outreach Project Officer explained:
“We work with linked schools in areas with low levels of progression to third level education, where we tend to see a lot students dropping down to take ordinary or even foundation level Maths for their Junior Certificate. This can really limit their higher level options in the future. Our quizzes show students that maths can be fun and ultimately, we hope that taking part will encourage them to stick with higher level maths. The quizzes also fit into our U & University suite of programmes for junior cycle which are all about making students college aware by exposing them to the University campus and providing opportunities to interact with current DCU students.”
Students from Beneavin De La Salle in Finglas, Coláiste Dhúlaigh in Coolock, Mercy College in Coolock, St David’s CBS in Artane, St Mary’s Holy Faith in Glasnevin and St Mary’s Holy Faith in Killester came together in the main auditorium on DCU’s St Patrick’s Campus to fight it out over six rounds of eight questions set by quizmaster Domhnall O’Hanlon. The questions were designed to show the relevance of maths in everyday life, such as questions on the dimensions of a smartphone screen.
Jesse Dunne, a maths teacher from St David’s CBS in Artane, was attending the quiz with two teams from his school. Speaking at the event, he outlined the benefits of taking part for his students:
“It’s good for students to take part in a competition and to see a more enjoyable side to maths. We’re trying to increase the number of students taking higher level maths in the school and to build on our recent success in getting more students to sit higher level papers for their Junior Certificate. We would hope that most of the guys with us today will go on to University, so even just getting to see the college campus is a benefit as most wouldn’t have been on a campus before.”
Rachel Petrie, EMEA Senior Recruiter, was in attendance to represent the event sponsors Oath and explained why supporting this initiative is so important to the company:
“Oath is committed to building a better world and we are putting our words into action by investing in initiatives like this that provide opportunities to students from socio-economically disadvantaged areas, students for whom university may not be a foregone conclusion. At Oath, we are also passionate about educating students about technology and maths is a core skill for anybody thinking about a career in technology in the future.”