Youth and scientific culture
Hard-wiring science into youth culture
Despite their love of gadgets and technological wizardry, too many young people see science as being uninteresting, distant and, above all, ‘uncool’. This has translated into a gradual dropping off in the numbers of young people pursuing science and technology (S&T) studies and careers.
This has potentially serious consequences for Europe. Modern society’s prosperity and well-being is based on continuous scientific and technological progress. As Europe continues its quest to construct the world’s most competitive knowledge-based economy, the demand for top research talent is set to grow massively. If more young people do not join the ranks of the scientific community, this shortfall will become even greater.
Making science more appealing to the young requires a serious rethinking of the way science is conveyed. Young people attribute their lack of interest in S&T to the way science is taught in schools, the complexity of these subjects, and an apparent shortage of attractive career prospects.
Addressing this requires revamping school science syllabuses to make them more relevant to young people’s experiences and highlighting the bright prospects S&T offers intellectually and financially, as well as the important role it plays in solving the major challenges that concern them. In short, it requires hard-wiring science into youth culture and awareness.
(ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/index.cfm?fuseaction=public.topic&id=107, access on Aug. 17, 2007)
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