Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Declining Student Enrolment in Science & Technology: Reality, Causes and Solutions

25.11.2005


“OECD governments must take concrete steps to make science and technology studies more attractive” - that was one of the main conclusions of the international conference on declining student enrolment in science and technology courses. The conference took place in Amsterdam on November 14-15. It was organised by the OECD Global Science Forum and the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Over two hundred participants from twenty-six countries debated ways to attract young people to science. All of the stakeholder communities were represented: government officials, business leaders, representatives of foundations, education professionals (teachers and those who study the educational process), scientists, students.



OECD analysts presented the results of a study of enrolment numbers, of contributing factors, and of potential solutions. This study documents worrying enrolment trends for fields such as mathematics, physics and chemistry, as illustrated by a decline in the number of university graduates of up to 30-50% over the last 8-10 years in physical sciences, in some countries. The study also describes the complexity of the causative factors involved, and presents some of the interesting remedies that have been tried. Although some of these have met with success, others are too recent to evaluate and, in any case, there is a general need for better evaluation methodologies in this area.

In addition to urging governments to be more concerned about declining enrolments, conference participants identified a number of specific priorities for further action such as:


• Girls and minority students are largely under-represented in S&T studies. They are a vast untapped reservoir of potential science students and professionals. Action plans directed towards declining student enrolment in S&T should systematically integrate concrete actions targeted at these groups.

• Young people often have stereotyped visions of S&T professionals and their careers. Students should be provided with accurate information (such as through direct contacts with real professionals).

• S&T curricula are often rigid and outdated. Their content should be updated to be more relevant to modern society and should include the acquisition of useful professional skills at the tertiary level. They should also be more flexible, allowing students to come back into S&T fields at various stages of the educational process instead of being definitively excluded after a first choice outside S&T tracks or following a break in their curriculum.

• Some teachers in primary or secondary education lack adequate S&T training. At the tertiary level, the needed pedagogical skills are sometimes lacking, particularly since evaluation of academics is usually based on their research work only. Resources and incentives should be provided for additional training throughout teachers’ careers.

The Amsterdam conference was unique due to the wide range of expertise and backgrounds of the participants, who agreed that concerted actions by all stakeholders will be needed to reverse negative enrolment trends. Enhanced communication and networking between interested professional are needed, with special emphasis on exchanging methodologies, experiences, curricula and best practices on a world-wide scale. Discussions are ongoing about practical ways to implement these ideas.

A policy-level report will be published in February 2006, containing findings and recommendations of the full OECD Global Science Forum study of science education, including the results of this conference.

Frederic Sgard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.oecd.org/sti/gsf

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht New Master’s programme: University of Kaiserslautern educates experts in quantum technology
15.03.2017 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>