Situation and problems of decrease of Japanese students in Science and Technology fields Yasushi Ogura National Institute for Educational Policy Research of Japan OECD/GSF ‘Declining interest in science studies among young people’ committee member OECD/PISA Science Expert Group member OECD/Japan Seminar in Tokyo, June 23-24, 2005
Is there a problem of declining interest among young people in studying S&T? • PISA tells us the situation of how well young people are prepared to meet the challenges of today’s knowledge societies. • PISA does not tell the situation of preparation of young people who are coming to Science and Technology (S&T) fields to study and work and then engage in researches, developments or productions in S&T. • Researches on situations and causes of and effective measures to the problem have been analyzed.
Japanese students in Science and Technology are decreasing • Decrease of the number of young people in S&T fields will lead the lack of human resources in researches, developments or productions in S&T fields. • Number of students who study in S&T fields has been decreased in Japan. • It is predicted that the number of students who study in S&T fields will be rapidly decreased.
Decrease of younger population Number of high school graduates will be decreased 20% in 2010 and 23% in 2020 from the in 2000.
Japanese students are less interested in S&T fields internationally • Making it higher the proportion of students who want S&T studies and jobs in the same cohort can solve the problem of lacking human resource in S&T fields. • There is a large room to elevate the level of interest among young people in S&T fields in Japan.
Researches on effective activities • Increasing the number of students in S&T fields is urgent need in Japan. There have been various activities at elementary and secondary education. In 2002, MEXT has started national initiative called as ‘Kagaku-Gijyutsu Rika Daisuki Plan’ (Science Literacy Enhancement Initiatives, in english) in which various activities for promoting S&T education has been organized and supported. • Some effective activities have been found from questionnaire surveys on randomly sampled schools and schools under the national support.
Effective activity – Science learning by visiting science museums and research institutes
‘Rika-daisuki schools’ • As a national measure, 105 elementary and 62 lower-secondary schools in 19 areas had been designated as ‘Rika-daisuki schools’ for two years since 2003. • In designated schools, science and mathematics programs with focusing on observations and experiments, enrichment of elective subjects and advanced learning had been practiced. • Designated schools were not special ones, and participated students were not selected and essentially the same group of students in normal schools at the start of the program.
‘Super Science High schools’ • As a major national measure, 26 upper-secondary schools had been designated as ‘Super Science High-schools (SSH)’ for three years since 2002. (This program has been expanded and continued.) • In designated schools, special programs focusing on science, mathematics and technology, with emphasis on cooperative measures with universities and research institutes had been practiced. • Designated schools were relatively high achievement schools, and participated students have had higher level of interest in science learning from the start of the program.
Suggestions – Providing for more students and in more frequently A. opportunities to learn science from science experts B. opportunities to visit science museums and research institutes to learn science C. opportunities to go for field and study science in nature with living things D. opportunities to do science projects in science lessons E. supports to develop their own scientific researches As the level of interest in S&T fields improves, F. expanding the proportion of admission of new entrants in Engineering Science and Natural Science