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26 October 2006There have long been concerns that the UK education system may not provide the numbers of skilled people needed for the workforce. This report sets out the background information and initial findings of a project to explore the widespread concerns over the supply of skilled people needed to maintain the UK as a leading knowledge economy. The report concentrates on science, technology and maths (STM) first degree courses in the UK.
The categories under which data are collected inevitably have to be modified from time to time to reflect changes in what is happening in universities. This can make it difficult to compare, for example, the numbers of students taking particular subjects in different years. A central aim of this project was to develop a consistent picture of student numbers over the past decade. The Society and the Office for Science and Innovation (OSI) therefore commissioned the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to reanalyse its original data so as to generate information about the trends in student numbers in STM subjects that, as far as possible, used the same definitions throughout the period. As a result of this valuable collaboration, our report is able to present consistent trends in first degree STM graduates over the last decade.
Based on a detailed analysis of these and other relevant statistics, the report includes a wide range of data on STM A-levels, STM first degree courses and the first destination of STM graduates, and draws attention to:
The report is designed to underpin a further study of the fitness for purpose of UK STM higher education into the middle of the next decade and beyond, Science HE 2015 and beyond.
Rises in maths and biology graduates apparent rather than real (26 October 2006)
Study into science skills vital for UK economy launched by Royal Society (25 May 2006)
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