As a contribution to the discussion about mathematics in schools, here is a contribution from guest author Lauren Bailey.
According to Accenture, two thirds of all IT, science, and general technology companies in the UK are actively searching for new STEM talent. Unfortunately, only about 22% of all university students in the UK receive their degrees in science, computer science, engineering, or math. So, the problem is that there’s an obvious shortage of qualified graduates in the country to fill positions. If the UK wants to remain a global leader, cultivating more STEM talent is essential, especially because over 40% of higher education graduates in China and almost 30% of graduates in India get their degrees in one of the STEM subjects.
The tremendous growth of STEM talent in China and India in recent years is definitely a good thing for the global economy, but it’s also an unfortunate indication that the UK is falling behind. Recent reports of teenagers in the UK not grasping essential math concepts don’t bode well for the UK’s global competitiveness in the STEM fields either. Although there are a handful of government programs that try to encourage kids to take an interest in math, science, and technology, it seems as though these programs are falling short.
So, what can we do, as regular people, to cultivate talent in math, science, technology, and engineering and cultivate that talent in young learners? For starters, we should probably let kids know that they don’t need to learn math and science just to pass a test. They need to learn math and science because doing so will benefit them. Understanding math and science helps kids understand more about how this chaotic world works.
Parents, teachers, and community members need to make math, science, and technology fun, interesting, and worthwhile for kids. We need to make the STEM subjects come alive and seem as robust and magical as they truly are. This means that there should be more trips to nature preserves. More kids need to be able to tinker around with computers (especially affordable ones like the Raspberry Pi computer). Additionally, instead of watching television when they get home from school, our kids need to be learning how to play chess and solve math puzzles. In sum, kids need to spend less time sitting at their desks and extra time exploring the world around them.
The education of our kids matters. So, let’s not deprive them of the joy of becoming mathematicians, engineers, programmers, and doctors. Let’s do what we can now to change the current educational trends. If we all band together, everything we do will add up to create a much brighter future for today’s youth.
Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger who loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. As an education writer, she works to research and provide information for those ranking online colleges and welcomes comments and questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.