[ASC-list] How worried should we be about the science training system?

Helen.Sim at csiro.au Helen.Sim at csiro.au
Mon Jul 23 01:47:56 UTC 2012

Those of you who can access the journal Science online may have seen this article in last week's issue:

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6092/280.full .

It's about the US education system, and the much-used metaphor of a "leaky pipeline" for the training of science students.

The statements that struck me were:

 *   "There is little evidence that science suffers a ‘leaky pipeline’ during the college years that disproportionately steers students away from scientific fields and toward non-scientific studies."
 *   "[T]he percentage of college graduates who earned a degree in natural sciences or engineering was higher than the percentage of high school students who said they hoped to earn such a degree." In other words, students are switching INTO science.
 *   "Aspiring science and engineering majors actually have a lower dropout rate than those planning to earn nonscience degrees—45% versus 51% for men, and 34% versus 40% for women."

What happens in Australia? What data do we have?



Helen Sim
Media Liaison and Public Relations

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science
Australian Astronomical Observatory

T: +61 2 9372 4251
M: +61 419 635 905

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