Essay On Science And Technology In Today'S Context

Essay On Science And Technology In Today'S Context-48
This chapter describes and analyses some of the challenges facing science and technology (S&T) education by relating these to their wider social setting.Although the focus is on aspects emerging from a European (or OECD) context, some of the issues raised are likely to have a wider validity.These trends may provide ideas for possible ways forward.

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The situation is briefly described and analysed below.

In many countries, recruitment to scientific and technological studies is falling, or at least not developing as fast as expected or planned for.

This does, however, not seem to be the case, especially in the more developed countries of Europe and the OECD.

The evidence for such claims is in part based on 'hard facts' (educational statistics relating to subject choice in schools, enrolment in tertiary education etc.), in part on recent largescale comparative studies like TIMSS and PISA (described later in this chapter) and in part on research into, and analysis of, contemporary social trends.

After describing the problematic pattern of student enrolment in science and technology, the chapter suggests a series of underlying reasons for the difficulties that have arisen.

The description is necessarily tentative and exploratory, and it is intended to present ideas for a discussion of possible explanations.Universities and research institutions are anxious about the recruitment of new researchers, and education authorities are worried about the already visible lack of qualified teachers of the scientific and technological subjects.In some countries, the difficulty of recruiting sufficient numbers of new entrants to the teaching profession has become a matter of national concern, especially when the level of recruitment does not even allow for the replacement of those who are retiring.This is followed by a similar analysis of who needs science and technology education, and for what purposes.The point here is that the problem of student recruitment may be perceived differently from different perspectives and by different interests.In many countries, there is also a growing gender gap in the choice of scientific and technological subjects at both school and tertiary level.Many countries have had a long period of steady growth in female participation in traditionally male fields of study, but this positive trend seems now to have been broken in some countries.Science and technology are major cultural products of human history, and all citizens, independently of their occupational 'needs', should be acquainted with them as elements of human culture.While science and technology are obviously important for economic well-being, they must also seen from the perspective of a broadly based liberal education One might expect the increasing significance of science and technology to be accompanied by a parallel growth in interest in these subjects and in an understanding of basic scientific ideas and ways of thinking.Concern about unsatisfactory enrolment in science and technology is voiced by many interest groups.Industrial leaders are worried about the recruitment of a qualified work force.

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