Inderscience Publishers

Forum: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

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Recently, there have been many efforts to encourage high school graduates to major in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) when they enter college or university. As some of you may know, this has become a concern, at least in the USA, although it may not be the same for other countries such as China or India. The issue is the declining trend of young scientists and engineers in the pipeline of many professional fields of STEM. I am an engineer myself. I know how important STEM education is to the national economy and security as well as the global effort on environmental protection. In the USA, engineering enrollment had declined for sometime until the population of high school graduates grew recently. Overall, university enrolment has increased but not necessarily in those areas of STEM. Data have shown that women engineering student enrolment has increased steadily in the past decade or two although African and Hispanic Americans may not catch up at the same pace. The increase in women engineering students has to do with the change of people’s perception of STEM. For example, parents and grandparents have a tendency to buy toys such as doll houses and tea sets for girls and racing cars and fire engines for boys. The misconception is that girls are not considered suitable to handle tools and machines. It is desirable that parents break with tradition and adjust their views on what they expect their children to grow and how to guide their children to STEM career. With the help of many parties, some progress towards boosting students majoring in STEM has been made. But, a lot remains to be done.

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