We live in an era of accelerating technological change. Today’s never-ending stream of data, constantly updating tools, and innovative breakthroughs like artificial intelligence (A.I.), autonomy, 3D printing, and biotechnology have reshaped workplaces in ways that are inconceivable to previous generations.
Canada must remain competitive. And to do this we need to future-proof students, by ensuring have sufficient understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The next generation of workers are problem solvers trained to both understand new technologies and think creatively and critically about the world around them. Science learning prepares the workforce of tomorrow, equipping students with the tools to become the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.
Yet less than 50 per cent of Canadian students are completing non-compulsory grade 11 and 12 science and math courses. Why? Is it due to their perception that they are irrelevant to their future careers? Is it because it will bring down their grade point average and jeopardize university entry opportunities? Is it because it isn’t cool to study science?
Potential lost opportunities for these students is high. Dropping science and math courses in high school means the possibility of missing out on a host of career paths and prospects. Seventy per cent of the top jobs in Canada require a background in STEM, including skilled trades. And the added bonus is that STEM workers earn, on average, 26 per cent more than non-STEM workers.
The impact is felt nation-wide. Canada is spending more than $89 billion each year on education. But are students learning the proper skills to prepare for the future and today’s job market? It’s unclear. Especially considering Ontario is losing $24 billion each year because employers aren’t able to find enough skilled STEM workers.
We need to keep students plugged in and aware of future trends, emphasize emerging technologies and educate parents and students as to the impact that STEM has on their future. Companies like Amgen are leading the charge to keep students engaged with science, but with the future on the line – it’s going to take all of us.
Is Canada doing enough to create a culture of learning where students are challenged to wonder, create, test, and question? Share this article to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or leave us a message!
For more information about the economic impact of dropping high school science and math courses, check out the Spotlight on Science Learning: The High Cost of Dropping Science and Math made possible by Amgen Canada.