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Tomorrow’s engineers; today’s problem

A survey conducted by design software giant Autodesk amongst UK secondary school students has found that 57% of respondents believe a lack of technology in the classroom is holding them back from pursuing a STEM (science, technology and maths) based career.

One of the other findings is that 33% of respondents believe their school doesn't know enough about new technology.

It's certainly a claim which has been levelled at schools before when it comes to electronics. In the early 2000s, there was a perception that those teaching electronics had, with a few exceptions, about as much knowledge of the topic as the people they were teaching. A campaign was created - called Electronics in Schools - aimed at providing the necessary resources, but the campaign has since lapsed. Did it make a difference? Not obviously.

It's a fine line to walk. The educational curriculum is stuffed full, so how do you provide young people with a grounding in technology in the small amount of time available?

If we are to generate the numbers of engineers and scientists it is said that we need, then we have to inspire today's school students to consider such a career - and that means more time for technology.

Yet it still appears that schools aren't 'getting it'. We understand the curriculum can't be chopped and changed at will, but its content needs to be refreshed constantly and to be taught by people who are sympathetic to the subject.

Laura Hopperton

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