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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.

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Increasing Student Interest in S&T Studies

While young people generally have a positive view of science and technology (S&T), the image of S&T as a profession is largely negative. Positive contacts with S&T at an early age can have a long-lasting impact while negative experiences at school, due to uninteresting content or poor teaching, are often very detrimental to future choices. Teachers frequently report a lack of resources and opportunities to reflect upon their way of teaching and to increase their knowledge. In many countries, most primary teachers come from a non-S&T background, and many have not had any specific training in S&T. Interest in S&T is observed to decline most sharply around age 15. This is also when gender differentiation starts to translate into choices, and when key future orientations are set. Curricula are often too rigid to allow pupils who do not choose S&T as their primary subjects to come back to science later.

English

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