Schoolteachers must concentrate more on enthusing pupils about the creative and practical nature of engineering and less on theory if interest in engineering degree courses is to be revived, the Royal Academy of Engineering said this week.
In written evidence to the House of Commons select committee on science and technology, the academy expressed concern at the number and quality of students starting engineering or science courses in the UK.
In engineering it said it saw `a presentation problem that could be addressed through teacher training’, adding: `The academic purity of studying underlying principles before applications is deterring young people from following technical careers.’
The committee is holding an inquiry into the impact of the strategy for engineering and technology outlined by the 1993 White Paper Realising our potential.
An RAEng spokesman said: `The steam engine was invented before the laws of thermodynamics were discovered. And while you cannot optimise a process until you understand it, schools are forcing theory down the throats of students, neglecting the real achievements of engineering and its creativity.’
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