According to a study in the Lancet medical journal,...
- Education Professionals
Science graduates 'lack skills needed by business'
A report released by the Lords Science and Technology Committee has stated that Universities are not producing enough science graduates with the skills needed by UK industry.
They call for immediate action to boost student numbers in science, technology, engineering and maths at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Too many students start science courses with weak maths skills, it says. Report chairman Lord Willis said he was "gobsmacked" by figures which showed few who had studied maths beyond GCSE.
The report highlights a lack of key skills which extends from too few young people studying maths beyond GCSE to too few students taking postgraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects.
The sub-committee that produced the report said they were shocked that so many Stem undergraduates did not have A-level mathematics. The figures showed that around 70% of biology undergraduates, 38% of chemistry and economics undergraduates and 10% of engineering students did not have A-level maths.
The report team even found evidence that even an A* in A-level mathematics was no guarantee that students would be able to cope with a university science course.
Lord Willis said: "In reality the quality of the Stem graduates coming out of universities does not meet the requirements of industry and in fact is ultimately not even likely to meet the requirements of academia."
The report says that, without action, the government risks failing to meet its objective of driving economic growth through education and hi-tech industries.
It recommends that maths should be compulsory for all students after 16 and calls for universities to toughen their maths requirements for entry to Stem courses and to get more involved in the school maths curriculum.