[ASC-list] University science

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Fri Jan 20 01:48:05 UTC 2012

Despite the ASC debate I'm still seeing the UniMelb figures as a good sign for science.

But this story from the Age is less good. It implies we're getting them into university but then turning them off.

That's a  challenge for university lecturers.

Ps: this story contains the usual maths. I say that, because they grumble so often there's a danger that they end up talking down the status of maths. My consistent advice to the physicists has been, be enthusiastic in public space... for example a shortage of physicists means more money for those left... debate welcomed.


Uni science courses lack 'relevance'
Jen Rosenberg
January 20, 2012
University courses are not relevant to life, students claim. Photo: Craig Abraham
ALMOST half the university students studying science, maths, technology and engineering do not think their course is relevant to Australian life, a study has found.
Commissioned by the Chief Scientist, Universities Australia surveyed first-year university students and found they expressed concern over the relevance and role of those disciplines in their lives and communities.
They are disillusioned with the subject matter and the way it is taught.
It follows a report in December showing that the number of high school students taking science units has plummeted.
The report was a wake-up call, said the chief executive of Universities Australia, Professor Glenn Withers, and ''poses a risk to Australia's future as an innovative nation and an international leader in research''.
Science degrees are in greater demand, with more students applying for university, but they are gravitating more towards the health sciences as pure sciences lose favour.
''It is quite acceptable for people to say 'I was no good at maths' and that sets up a culture in which it's OK not to do well at maths and not like maths,'' said Will Morony, chief executive of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/uni-science-courses-lack-relevance-20120119-1q8f6.html#ixzz1jxTgr0eZ


Niall Byrne

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