OtherCrashOverride
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STEM: An inconvenient truth

Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:21 pm

http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/educat ... -is-a-myth
Given all of the above, it is difficult to make a case that there has been, is, or will soon be a STEM labor shortage.

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Burngate
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Re: STEM: An inconvenient truth

Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:48 pm

Maybe.
His main point comes towards the end:
A broader view, I and many others would argue, is that everyone needs a solid grounding in science, engineering, and math. In that sense, there is indeed a shortage—a STEM knowledge shortage. To fill that shortage, you don’t necessarily need a college or university degree in a STEM discipline, but you do need to learn those subjects, and learn them well, from childhood until you head off to college or get a job. Improving everyone’s STEM skills would clearly be good for the workforce and for people’s employment prospects, for public policy debates, and for everyday tasks like balancing checkbooks and calculating risks. And, of course, when science, math, and engineering are taught well, they engage students’ intellectual curiosity about the world and how it works.

Many children born today are likely to live to be 100 and to have not just one distinct career but two or three by the time they retire at 80. Rather than spending our scarce resources on ending a mythical STEM shortage, we should figure out how to make all children literate in the sciences, technology, and the arts to give them the best foundation to pursue a career and then transition to new ones. And instead of continuing our current global obsession with STEM shortages, industry and government should focus on creating more STEM jobs that are enduring and satisfying as well.

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Re: STEM: An inconvenient truth

Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:01 pm

His main point coincides fairly well with Eben's experience. People coming in to Cambridge University do not have the same level of skills they did only 20 years ago.

My own experience is that many younger people I meet cannot come close to the level of knowledge (in any STEM disciplines, or a combination of them all) I would expect. Admittedly, I'm a lot older and have learnt more over the years - but I think the grounding I had meant I WAS able to learn more as I was actually interested. I simply don't see the level of interest in younger people any more. Maybe's its just the people I hang around with..
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RTD1
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Re: STEM: An inconvenient truth

Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:19 pm

Anytime a business organization says "there is a shortage of skilled xyz workers in the market..."

You should automatically append "...willing to work for peanuts" in your head.

xyz need not be a STEM field.

Raspb3rryGuy
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Re: STEM: An inconvenient truth

Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:31 pm

RTD1 wrote:Anytime a business organization says "there is a shortage of skilled xyz workers in the market..."
You should automatically append "...willing to work for peanuts" in your head."
Very well put.
Cheers

gritz
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Re: STEM: An inconvenient truth

Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:54 pm

Raspb3rryGuy wrote:
RTD1 wrote:Anytime a business organization says "there is a shortage of skilled xyz workers in the market..."
You should automatically append "...willing to work for peanuts" in your head."
Very well put.
Cheers
Yeah, this. Companies that habitually moan about a perceived lack of skills in school-leavers are possibly the very same companies that don't invest a red cent in training, R&D and plant, etc. I should know - I've spent half my life working for idiots like that... :lol:

A lot of this "woe, woe and thrice woe" stuff is anecdotal anyway - and being an anecdotal kind of chap I have to say that children of friends and relatives seem to be pretty smart and motivated when compared to me and my slacker mates when we was facing our GCEs in 1983.

Perhaps some of it has do do with aspiration. Why would any "normal" teen aspire to be an engineer or technician? It's not exactly sexy, or something that's particularly worth boasting about (unless you spend your off-duty time in the company of other nerds). This is nothing new - almost thirty years ago my metallurgy tutor was bemoaning the lack of kudos that engineers received in the UK and observed that they were just regarded as figures of fun in greasy overalls and certainly were not people to be taken seriously. Far better to be a spivvy barrow-boy, like Alan Sugar - make a good pitch and the quality of your creation is irrelevant. I wouldn't be surprised if Brunel and Babbage were barely tolerated by the"polite" society of their time. I doubt if they'd have made the Victorian version of "Hello" magazine.

Perhaps it's up to us to make science and engineering look a bit more appealing, because for the most part it's even more naff (naffer?) than it was in the 80's. There's a huge disconnect between the (mostly terribly mundane) technology we use every day and the select few that create it and I think that us geeks are guilty of concentrating on the nuts and bolts of it all rather than focussing on the why. Technology is driven by need - if it just sort of happened according to the beardy dreamers we'd all have lightsabres, flying cars and be living in cities in the clouds. Technology - just like music, TV, fashion, random trends and all of the other stuff that folks younger than us relate to is about people. Society.

So make it relevant and stop arguing whether BASIC is better than Python.

Edit: as if by magic, this story has just appeared on the BBC news webite:

English and maths studied to 18

Although I've never got the feeling that Michael Gove has ever really understood that the mind is a fire to be lighted, rather than just a vessel to be filled...

Maybe if we just taught our kids to be better at cheating:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... ating.html

And Gove could "fast track" the highest achievers into government...

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