Brussels, 11 July 2002
A group of UK MPs (members of parliament) from several political parties, including the Government's Labour party, has reported back to the UK's House of Commons that science lessons in the country need improvement from their present 'dull and tedious' format.
The Commons science and technology committee highlighted that there was a danger that pupils would not be encouraged to continue studying science beyond the compulsory age of 16 if changes were not made. There is little practical application in classes, they say, and much of the learning is simply of facts of little use. The MPs urge a greater emphasis on contemporary science and more flexibility in setting what should be studied.
There was also concern about the level of funding and the quality of the facilities available to science teachers. The report compiled by the MPs said that pay and conditions for laboratory technicians was not high enough, and that 4,000 more of them were needed in schools. It is a lack of this type of skilled staff, coupled with the poor facilities, that is at the root of the lack of excitement and interest in classes, it adds. It also recommends that double the amount of resources presently dedicated by the Department of education to addressing the problem is necessary, from GBP60 million (around 90 million euro) to GBP120 million (around 180 million euro).