Thursday, February 16, 2012

US Workers Behind Korea & UK in Science and Maths

In today's society, the workers with their major fields in Science and Maths are highly demanded by all the developed countries. Even though there is a great demand for workers in Science and Maths in the USA but, many American students prefer to major their courses in Arts and Business. Thus, many of these graduates have hard time to find jobs in the competitive market while the US companies have to outsource jobs or import professional immigrants from IT, Engineering, Researching and Medical fields.

Even though, the USA is well-known for its advanced medical and technology in the world, the US government suffers with brain drain and lacks of manpower in Science and Maths related fields. Why there's a lack of interests in Science and Maths among the American students although there is a huge jobs demand with lucrative salaries in the market? Some American children find these subjects are boring and too difficult, which required them to do a lot of memorization compared to subjects from Art stream which only required them to debate and do public presentation skills. There are some Americans who grew up from the American TV series or movies and perceive that professional white collars in expensive office suits (blazers and jackets) tend to make more money than working in Science and Maths related fields.

US workers behind in science and math

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

When it comes to churning out young workers with college degrees in math and science, the United States lags well behind other advanced democracies, ranking just behind Turkey and Spain, according to a new analysis.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development analyzed education rates in its member countries and found that the U.S. is below average in the relative number of 25- to 34-year-old workers who have a degree in so-called STEM fields such as science, engineering, computing and statistics.

That’s a potential problem because research has shown that innovation in any economy depends on how many workers have such degrees, said Ronald Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.
“It is something that we should be concerned about,” Ehrenberg said
There are about 1,472 math and science grads for every 100,000 employed 25- to 34-year-olds in the United States, according to the data. The compares to more than 3,555 in Korea, which leads the chart, according to the OECD figures based on 2009 data.
The United States falls between Spain and Iceland on the chart, and is noticeably lower than the OECD average. The figures do not reflect how many people with STEM degrees are actually employed in their field or using the skills they learned.

Jobs available for graduates with degrees in math, science and engineering tend to pay well, said Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. 

But there are plenty of ways in which American culture dissuades its most promising kids 
 from going into those fields.

For starters, many young Americans believe they can make more money with a degree in a business, finance or a related field, Carnevale said. Americans also seem to place more value on jobs in those fields.

“(If you’re) a smart high school kid, doing well, your image of what you want to do is not to wear a white smock every day and sit on a stool with a beaker,” Carnevale said. “You’re in a culture that drives you toward more convivial and more social kinds of work, and it pays better.”

Young Americans may also not be getting enough exposure to math and science, said Cornell’s Ehrenberg.

At the K-12 level, he said, it can be tough to recruit great math and science teachers because college graduates who specialize in those areas can probably find better-paying work outside teaching.

In addition, some students may have a hard time finding the right role models in college math and science departments, said Ehrenberg, who noted that many science and math faculties are dominated by white and Asian men.

Ehrenberg said many colleges and universities have tried to recruit faculty from more diverse backgrounds and to develop more family-friendly policies to retain women and non-traditional students in the fields.

“I think role models do matter,” Ehrenberg said.

For now, at least, Carnevale said many companies are simply poaching talented young science and math graduates from other countries. But as those countries ramp up their own businesses, that may be tougher to do.

Still, he said it also may be hard to fight the biases that have come to value lucrative non-scientific fields such as finance and law.

“A labor market is a social institution as well as an economic one,” he said.


Western pupils lag Asians by three years: study

Photo illustration. Western schoolchildren are up to three years behind those in …

Students in South Korea were a year ahead of those in the US and European Union in …

Western schoolchildren are up to three years behind those in China's Shanghai and success in Asian education is not just the product of pushy "tiger" parents, an Australian report released Friday said.

The study by independent think-tank The Grattan Institute said East Asia was the centre of high performance in schools with four of the world's top systems in the region -- Hong Kong, South Korea, Shanghai and Singapore.

"In Shanghai, the average 15-year-old mathematics student is performing at a level two to three years above his or her counterpart in Australia, the USA and Europe," Grattan's school education programme director Ben Jensen said.

"That has profound consequences. As economic power is shifting from West to East, high performance in education is too."

Students in South Korea were a year ahead of those in the US and European Union in reading and seven months ahead of Australian pupils, said the report, using data from the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment.

The PISA, pioneered by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, has become a standard tool for benchmarking international standards in education.

The study said that while many OECD countries had substantially increased funding for schools in recent years, this had often produced disappointing results and success was not always the result of spending more money.

Australian schools have enjoyed a large increase in expenditure in recent years, yet student performance has fallen while South Korea, which spends less per student than the OECD average, had shot up, it said.

"Nor is success culturally determined, a product of Confucianism, rote learning or 'tiger mothers'," the report said, the latter a reference to ethnic-Chinese parents who push hard for their children to succeed.

It said Hong Kong and Singapore had made major improvements in reading literacy in the past decade, while the tests by which the students were ranked was not conducive to rote learning as they required problem solving.

The report said the best systems focused on a relentless, practical focus on learning and teacher education, mentoring and professional development, rather than greater spending.
The East Asian systems were also unafraid to make difficult trade-offs to achieve their goals, with Shanghai, for example, raising class sizes to up to 40 pupils but giving teachers more time to plan classes and for research.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard stressed the need for Australia to perform well given its place in the most economically dynamic part of the world.

"Four of the five highest performing schools system in the world are in countries in our region, so we've got to make sure we not only keep up but we win that education race," she said.

Education expert Kevin Donnelly, director of the Melbourne-based think-tank Education Standards Institute, agreed that spending money by itself was not enough to lift performance.
"America for example spends the most compared to the other OECD countries in terms of education but only gets very average results," he told AFP. "Korea spends a lot less but they achieve at the top of the table."

But Donnelly said cultural factors did play a role.

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