A leading higher education academic has questioned whether the UK is making the most of opportunities for its science graduates, and whether we really need more of them. 08/08/2011
Writing for the New Scientist, the Higher Education Careers Services Unit’s (HECSU) deputy director Charlie Ball challenged the long-held assumption that the UK needs to increase its number of science, technology, engineering and maths graduates.
Assessing the latest figures on what graduates do from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), Charlie wrote, ‘It shows us that initiative after initiative to try to get more young people into science doesn’t seem to be having much of an impact. There are some minor changes in graduate numbers, but with the exception of a rise of 5.5% in the number of maths graduates this year, there’s nothing of significance.’
‘Second, we seem to have an awfully high unemployment rate for science graduates for a nation that apparently doesn’t have enough of them. And, actually, the same goes for PhDs,’ he added.
Charlie goes on to suggest that the UK isn’t suffering from a shortage of science graduates, but rather a shortage of good science graduates.
‘Are we using the graduates we do produce properly? Are we telling them that they might need to do PhDs? Are some people trying to avoid asking or answering these questions because they fear that the next generation of scientists might be put off if they find out they might need to do lots of maths or take a PhD?’
To read the full column, visit the New Scientist
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