Mallow prepares for fourth Maths and Science Family Fair

Preparations are already under way for the 2014 Mallow Maths and Science Family Fair which will be held on Sunday October 12th at Mallow G.A.A. Complex. Mallow Development Partnership (MDP), the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL) and Mallow Systems Innovation Centre are again the main co-ordinators for the event which is the only community-based STEM Fair in the country. The Fair is focused on demonstrating how STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) impact on everyday life. Last year, over 4,000 parents and children attended the event which featured workshops and demonstrations by some of the country’s leading third level institutions and top commercial companies.

By a happy coincidence, the Fair will be held in the same week as the birth in Mallow of Thomas Davis two hundred years ago. Apart from his status as a revolutionary and Young Irelander, Davis was a radical advocate of education for all. His famous quote “educate that you may be free” has informed many educators in Ireland and abroad.

The Mallow Family Fair has spun out from the Mallow Schools Maths and Science Project, also now in its fourth year. Mallow is now the lead school district nationally for researching and piloting initiatives and developments in the teaching of mathematics and science. In the first project of its kind to be undertaken in Ireland, five secondary and sixteen primary schools in the Mallow area partnered with the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL) which is based in UL.

The bulk of the €300,000 required to fund the initial four years of the schools project was sourced from locally-based Mallow companies and organisations like the Barry Group, Dairygold, Greencore, Mallow Credit Union, and Cork County Council and Mallow Town Council.

The outcomes from the first four years of the Mallow Schools Maths and Science Project (2010 – 14) are very positive with all secondary schools reporting increased uptake of higher level mathematics and science, according to MDP chairman, John McDonnell. “The Schools project and Mallow Maths and Science Family Fair are all part of the same community effort to increase interest and awareness of the value of STEM skills,” he said. “The vast majority of career opportunities in the future will require skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The best way to develop those skills is to get interested at an early age, to enjoy the STEM subjects and to understand their applications and their impact on everyday life. The Partnership would particularly like to thank NCE-MSTL for their huge contribution to Mallow education and our sponsors who have made these initiatives possible.

 “The Partnership would like to think Thomas Davis would approve of the premium being put on education in Mallow and of the efforts being made to equip young people for the future. There are a number of important Thomas Davis commemorative events prior to and after the date for the STEM Fair including the unveiling of a bust of Davis by the President, Michael D. Higgins, a launch of a commemorative stamp in Mallow and Dublin, a Davis Commemorative Concert, and a Schools Davis Art Exhibition  and Lecture.”