Thursday, May 03, 2007

Help for Science Students

An article in the Guardian reports that the Royal Society of Chemistry has announced that many undergraduate chemistry students are receiving extra maths tuition at university because they gave up the subject after GCSE level. British science students have a lower level of mathematical skills than those from China, India, and Japan.

The Royal Society of Chemistry is offering a £500 prize to a person who answers a sample question from Chinese university entrance tests correctly. Click here for the story.

On a related note, recent figures show that almost a fifth of Chinese pupils in English schools are registered as gifted against a tenth of white children. It underlines the dominance of pupils from China and comes days after scientists warned that economic stability was at risk because British students lagged so far behind those from overseas. Alan Smithers, professor of education at Buckingham University, said ‘We know from international studies that Asian children, particularly those from China, Japan and Korea do particularly well. It could be the work ethic or it could be the valuing of education within those cultures.’

Finally on science subjects, a report published by the Council for Industry and Higher Education is calling on the government to consider introducing financial incentives for pupils to continue studying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects at A level. The STEM Review: The Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths Supply Chain report is available here.

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