Last week’s poll: STEM education

A report released by BIS to coincide with Tomorrow’s Engineers week says that it’s criticial for 16-18 year olds to study maths and sciences. What’s the best way to encourage this to happen?

Our poll on the report delivered by BIS chief science advisor Prof John Perkins to coincide with Tomorrow’s Engineers week delivered an even spread of opinion on how 16-18 year-olds should be encouraged to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) courses (surely a misnomer, as there is no opportunity to study engineering at 16-18). Of the 484 respondents, the largest group, 30 per cent, said that schools needed to improve their science teaching facilities, at industry or government’s expense. More and better publicity for STEM-based careers was the choice of 28 per cent, while 22 per cent said that industry should sponsor students in this age group — younger than university sponsorship schemes. A little over 14 per cent opted for a more vocational design for courses, while the smallest group, 6 per cent, chose bursary schemes targeted at deprived regions.

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It’s a complex question with no easy answers, as the engineering sector has found over the years. What’s your take on this subject?