ST MARY’S ACADEMY St. Mary's Academy CBS, Railway Road, Carlow, Ireland.
Phone: 059 9142419 Fax: 059 9130922

Young Scientists Tanzania

We are extremely proud of the fact that one of our teachers, Joe Clowry, who pioneered Development Education in the school in 2006 established Young Scientists Tanzania. This project was piloted with 4 schools in 2011 and has grown to become a competition for all students in the country.
Joe's work has been covered by RTE in September/October 2015 and you may view his work in the videos below:

1. Video 1 YST 2015

2. Video 2 This video is abot 22 mins and gives the complete history of the project

3. Video 3 These students will be visiting our school in January 2016

The RTE coverage can be seen/heard on the link here.


Development Education at St. Mary’s Academy, Carlow


Following a very impressive presentation at the offices of Irish Aid in March 2006, on Development Education, I decided to explore the possibility of introducing a Development Education course for Transition Year students at St. Mary’s Academy, Carlow. On my return I contacted Joe Clowry, a senior Science teacher, and he immediately declared his interest in developing and teaching the proposed course. While he knew that there wasn’t a syllabus for the course at this stage, he was certain that he had enough personal knowledge, contacts and resources to design a course suitable for the target group. We needed a partner school and we decided to approach Katrina Foley, the senior RE teacher in Portlaoise CBS. Like Joe, Katrina was enthusiastic and interested.

St. Mary’s Academy, Carlow and St. Mary’s CBS, Portlaoise are both involved in the Immersion Programme, organised by the Christian Brothers. Students from Carlow travel to India and Zambia while Portlaoise is linked with Zambia. As only a few students get the opportunity to take part in the Immersion programme, both schools felt the need to create greater awareness of development issues in the wider school community. Katrina and Joe got to work on the project as they believed the development of a course would open the issues to the entire school community and add value to the Immersion Programme activities.

We introduced our idea to Patsy Toland, a Development Education Officer from Self Help Africa. Patsy was delighted to come on board and work with us. A trial syllabus was developed and Joe and Katrina began teaching the course in September 2006 in their respective schools. Throughout the year, they met regularly to develop the course and introduce active learning methodologies into the syllabus and use existing Development Education resources. We decided to focus on embedding the course in Transition Year with a time-tabled slot of 2 classes per week.

St. Mary’s Academy made a successful funding application to Irish Aid, to provide resources for the course. The course was further developed with input from teachers, students and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and it was tried and tested in the classroom.

News of the success of the course spread and by the end of the first year many more schools showed interest in incorporating the course in their Transition Year programme. A very successful seminar was held at the Department Of Education, NUI Maynooth to showcase the Development Issues Course to other schools. The level of interest shown by these schools in the project was heartening. St. Mary’s Academy secured a second phase of funding from Irish Aid and by September 2007 there were twelve schools in the network. We secured a third phase of funding in August 2008 and a fourth phase in August 2010. To date, over 32 schools have embedded “Development Issues – a course for Transition Year” in their school. Over the years, St. Mary’s Academy has developed a partnership with the Education Department at NUI Maynooth. Our students gave workshops on Development Education to the PGDE students during Development Education Week at NUI Maynooth. We also took part in “A Chance for Change”, a Development Education DVD produced by NUI Maynooth. We have also developed a great working relationship with The Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium, NUI Maynooth and Self Help Africa.

At a conference held on 7th May 2011 in Athlone, 25 transition year coordinators from all over Ireland, were introduced to the course and showed great interest. Our partners in Africa and India have been impressed by the level of engagement shown by the students that have participated in the Transition Year course. This is sound proof that the course is having a very positive impact on our students. As principal, I feel that the school atmosphere has improved since we introduced Development Education into our school curriculum.

The course has been developed and improved upon by the input of the participating students, teachers and NGOs. Since joining St. Mary’s Academy in 2005, Aileen Tennant has been a key member of the Development Education team and focused on keeping the resource up to date. Initially the resource was in a book format but is now available on-line and in CD Rom format. Aileen is hoping to develop an innovative App for the iPhone and iPad which will contain the course and associated development education resources and make the course available to a global audience.

Aileen, Joe, Katrina, and Patsy have spent countless hours updating and designing the course with the result that is has been validated by the NCCA under their template and guidelines on writing Transition Units. All advice and support from the NCCA is greatly acknowledged. The Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium (CDPC), NUI Maynooth and Self Help Africa have been very supportive and have provided assistance and advice throughout the course development. The course has being coordinated by Joe Clowry, of CDPC and NUI Maynooth (teacher from St. Mary’s Academy) and Patsy Toland, Education Officer with Self Help Africa, for the last 4 years.

I would like to thank Aileen Tennant and Katrina Foley for all their work in making this such a successful resource. Last but not least, I would like to thank all the students that had such an important input in developing the resource and were actively engaged in the many workshops, throughout the last four years. I would like to thank all the NGOs for allowing the school to use their resources and making this course so successful.

We are indebted to Irish Aid for their financial assistance. The Irish Aid program has as its absolute priority the reduction of poverty, inequality and exclusion in developing countries. I am thrilled that our school community is playing its part in addressing these issues.

Well done Aileen, Joe, Katrina and Patsy.

Leo Hogan (Principal St. Mary’s Academy, Carlow)

June 2011



Ms Aileen Tennant and two students, Sean Walsh and Peter Lennon, are currently in Zambia (15th April to 29th April) looking at some of the work being done by Self-Help Africa. Pictures and video of this trip will be available here in May.

Ms Theresa O'Neill and 10 students (for names see 'latest news' link) will travel to Calcutta on Saturday 22nd April and their pictures will be displayed here too.

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