Encouraging Student Interest in Science and Technology Studies

image of Encouraging Student Interest in Science and Technology Studies

Encouraging Student Interest in Science and Technology Studies examines overall trends in higher education enrolments and the evolution of S&T compared with other disciplines. The results suggest that although absolute numbers of S&T students have been rising as access to higher levels of education expands in OECD economies, the relative share of S&T students among the overall student population has been falling, The report shows that encouraging interest in S&T studies requires action to tackle a host of issues inside and outside the education system, ranging from teacher training and curriculum design to improving the image of S&T careers. Numerous examples of national initiatives are used to complement the analyses to derive a set of practical recommendations.


Complexity of Contributing/Influencing Factors

Choice of study is determined by a range of objective and subjective, conscious and unconscious influences ranging from family background to salary expectations to experiences at school. Changes in the general social context, such as accelerating globalisation, also have an influence, e.g. young people may choose broader types of curriculum with a wide range of disciplines to adapt to the job market. Female students are the most obvious resource for increasing science and technology (S&T) enrolments, along with young people from minority groups to some extent. Young female students suffer from stereotypes in relation to the expectations of parents, teachers, and society, despite doing at least as well as boys. Teaching tends to reflect the same stereotypes. Girls tend to undervalue their own performance, and their ability to pursue S&T. They also lack role models. In certain respects, this is also true for students belonging to some minorities.


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