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Electrical and electronic engineering
The Department of Electrical Services Engineering, formerly known as the Installation Department, Kevin St., train Electrical Apprentices to become Qualified Electricians, has recently started to award Degrees in Electrical Services Engineering which includes the built environment. These students come from CAO applicants and from phase 6 students who have passed through the school. It is a popular and well subscribed course. I am involved in teach Phase 4 and 6. To progress to phase 6, phase 4 students must pass four examinations of which Electric Science is by all accounts the most difficult. To qualify as Electricians phase 6 also must pass four examinations and as in phase 4 the mathematics exam presents biggest difficulty. It is with this in mind that I find the Departments decision to discontinue the mathematics class for phase 4 and 6 a backward step. Foreign and native companies operating in Ireland speak of the crying need to improve dramatically the mathematical ability of our engineers and craftsmen. I set a Math test on 9th. March 2010 for phase 4 and phase 6. The questions came from a past Leaving Certificate ordinary level paper, which most students said they sat. The test was quite easy but the results were poor. Eighteen students handed back papers and overall 44% passed and 56% failed (Phase 6). The results were worse for phase 4 with a pass rate of 26% failure rate of 74%. Later when I wrote the solutions on the board I was surprised to see them working in groups comparing notes. The survey completed, I can say that it is vital that the Math program be reinstated fully and not have it as an optional subject when classes have ended at 5 o’clock after students have put in a long day. The idea that we train Electricians and they leave the DIT with only a rudimentary knowledge of mathematics is out of date in the 21st century. We lag behind greatly Engineers in the Orient and parts of Europe. This situation must be addressed quickly. Mathematics for Apprentices could be reintroduced as a core subject of Web CT or virtually or as an Effective mode. The students should be asked for feedback to establish that they can perform simple calculations such as power inputs and outputs of motors etc.
Lalor, David, "Should Electrical Apprentices Study More Mathematics" (2012). Conference papers. 14.