Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP warned today that unless STEM subjects are made more appealing, fewer pupils will take part in Scotland’s well-established reputation as a global centre of scientific excellence.
The comments come after a ‘Science and the Parliament’ event earlier this week where John Swinney admitted that the number of pupils choosing STEM subjects for their Highers has been decreasing.
Speaking in this afternoon’s debate on a Strategy for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education and Training, Mr Scott said that attracting pupils to study science must begin as early as possible, to encourage male and female pupils, and in particular female, to engage in scientific subjects.
Speaking after the debate, Mr. Scott said:
“From the discovery of the theory of gravity to the evolution of computers and wireless connection, science has a significant impact on our society and everyday lives. However, the future potential of developing bright young minds is at risk as we see fewer young people engaging.
“The Scottish Government has the responsibility to ensure that we have an education system that gives the opportunity to all children to achieve their potential. For that to be achieved we need to make sure our curriculum is engaging and exciting so that students aren’t turned off as they progress through their education. As it stands this is not happening. Students are turning away from science and losing out on the opportunity that it provides.
“If Scotland is to lead in scientific discoveries we must have strong foundations and a bold strategy. As things stand the SNP have built those foundations on excessive bureaucracy, creating barriers that don’t need to be there.”