Company Celebrates Fifth Year of Promoting the Wonders of Science and Engineering to School Children around the Country
To coincide with National Science Week (10-17 November) Abbott, one of Ireland’s leading healthcare companies, reached out to school students in 28 schools nationwide to stimulate their interest in the wonders of science and encourage their future participation in careers in science, technology and engineering. This is the fifth year of Abbott’s science education programmes, Abbott Family Science and Operation Discovery, and since their launch in 2009 more than 3,400 students and parents all around the country will have been inspired through participation in these programmes in their local communities.
This year, more than 100 Abbott employee volunteers, from eight sites around the country delivered these programmes in 28 local schools in Sligo, Cavan, Dublin, Tipperary, Longford and Donegal.
The objectives of both the primary school programme, Abbott Family Science, and the secondary school programme, Operation Discovery, are to engage and inspire students, families and their teachers in scientific exploration, to help students become more proficient in science subjects and ultimately to attract more energised and enthusiastic students to the study of science and engineering in the longer term.
Abbott Family Science has had a demonstrable impact on how participating parents and their children perceive science, with many reporting a significant increase in a positive attitude toward science after the event and an increased willingness to do science activities and discuss science careers as a family. In a post-participation survey those participants willing to do science activities in the home increased from 66% to 96%, and parents willing to discuss science with their children increased from 66% to 92%.
These events are facilitated by Abbott scientists, engineers and other employees in schools, and offer exciting experiments and hands-on lessons in the principles of scientific discovery.
The Operation Discovery programme facilitates secondary students and their teachers working directly in an Abbott laboratory with scientists, during which they undertake experiments relevant to that particular manufacturing site. The post-programme evaluation found that students expressed a strong satisfaction with all of the programme elements, and a significant increase in their interest in studying science, from 51% prior to the event to 89% after the event. In addition, prior to programme participation only 46% of students felt that working in a laboratory would be fun, which increased to 80% after the programme participation.
A critical part of the programmes is the collaboration with teachers – more than 100 teachers have partnered with Abbott on the programmes to date.
Carmel Mulroy, Head of Public Affairs, , Abbott Ireland said, “There is a well-established need for people who are well trained in science and technology and our science programmes are playing a part in meeting that need by fostering an interest in science through creative learning. The effective teaching of science should generate a sense of intrigue amongst children, inviting them to develop an understanding of the world around them.”
Abbott Family Science and Operation Discovery are delivered with the support of Abbott’s philanthropic foundation, the Abbott Fund.
Ireland was the first location outside of the U.S. to conduct these science programmes. Due to the success in Ireland, the programmes have now been implemented by Abbott in China, Germany, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Korea, l and the UK and more than 28,000 students around the world have participated in the programmes to-date.