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• S&T curricula are often rigid and outdated.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 Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Young people discover the "Learning Center"
20.09.2016 | Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>