Only One Third of Canadian Teens are Interested in Pursuing a
Post-Secondary Science Education
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 9 /CNW/ - Science and technology-based careers may
have exploded in recent years, but Canada's youth have little interest
in studying science after they graduate from high school. According to
a new Angus Reid Vision Critical survey, only one in three (37 per cent) Canadian teens aged 16 to 18 are interested in taking a
science course at the post-secondary level - and these are teens who
are currently enrolled in at least one high school science course.
This is a surprising statistic, especially given that more than eight out of 10 (82 per cent) teens recognize that studying science opens many
different career options and believe that if fewer students pursue
science it will have an impact on our society long-term (84 per cent).
Across the country Canadians agree, with nearly 90 per cent saying that
young people's interest in science is essential for Canada's future
"There is clearly a disconnect between Canadians' theoretical belief in
the value of a science education and students' actual intentions," said
Bonnie Schmidt, president and founder of Let's Talk Science, a
non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the importance of
science learning. "We need to encourage more teens to pursue science
and technology learning at high school and post-secondary levels. The
reality is that science education opens many more doors for career
opportunities than people realize. A basic understanding of science is
also needed for everyday life."
The problem may be that Canadian teens do not think of science as
'cool'. According to the survey, Canadian teens perceive people working
in science related professions as intelligent (81 per cent) and serious
(54 per cent), but only four per cent think they are 'cool'. Yet, the number and variety of science-related
careers available to youth today is higher than it has ever been before
- and go beyond the obvious careers in medicine and computer
technology. Science can lead to careers in the sports and entertainment
industry or the business and financial world.
W. Brett Wilson, Chairman of both Prairie Merchant Corporation & CANOE
Financial LP and a scientist and entrepreneur, wants to help Canadian
youth see the value and 'cool' factor of science. "The scientific
skills learned at the high-school and post-secondary levels are
critically important to virtually every career area," said Mr. Wilson.
"For me, studying science as part of my engineering degree has made a
world of difference in my success. I use those skills every day in my
own business, and in analyzing the potential value and utility of new
business ideas. Now I am encouraging my own children, who have all
taken sciences at a post-secondary level, to leverage those skills in
whatever career paths they might choose."
Bringing Science to the Forefront
Partnerships like those between Let's Talk Science and Amgen Canada are
essential when trying to raise awareness of the importance of a science
education among Canadian youth. According to the survey, eight out of 10 Canadian teens said that having access to mentors or assistance with
homework would help them be more successful in science. Let's Talk
Science is a pioneer in developing programs that stimulate the interest
of young people in science, including outreach programs that provide
role models and real-world experiences in science and CurioCity ( href="http://www.curiocity.com">www.curiocity.ca), an interactive 'place' tailor-made for teens to explore and discover
the science, engineering and technology in their lives. At CurioCity,
teens have access to insightful articles that relate to their own
interests and activities, such as health issues, technology,
entertainment, sports and relationships, as well as a careers profile
section that highlights the integral role science plays in career
"Making science relevant is key to helping teens see the possibilities
science brings to their own future," said Dr. Schmidt. "Resources, like
CurioCity, take science to where teens are - online and mobile - so
they can explore science in ways that are meaningful to them. It's very
exciting, and the feedback by those who have used the website is very
Supporting educators in an effort to engage students in science in novel
ways is also important - especially given that 70 per cent of teens say their science teachers have influenced their perception of
science. The Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence (AASTE)
recognizes four outstanding Canadian science teachers each year for
their extraordinary contribution to elevating science literacy through
creativity and innovation in the classroom.
"As we move towards a knowledge-based economy, we need to work together
with supporters of science education to ensure our youth understand its
importance, as well as make the connection between cutting-edge science
and its everyday applications," said Karen Burke, director of
regulatory affairs, Amgen and vice-president, Canadian Society for
"At Amgen Canada, we are committed to raising the value of science
literacy in Canada and hope to attract bright young minds into the
field of science for many years to come," continues Daniel Billen, Vice
President and General Manager of Amgen Canada.
About Let's Talk Science
Let's Talk Science is an award-winning, national, charitable, science
outreach organization. Let's Talk Science creates and delivers science
learning programs and services that turn kids on to science, keep them
engaged in learning and develop their potential to become 21st century stewards, innovators and citizens. For more information about
Let's Talk Science, please visit www.letstalkscience.ca.
About Amgen Canada
As a leader in innovation, Amgen Canada understands the value of
science. With main operations located in Mississauga, Ontario's vibrant
biomedical cluster, and its research facility in Burnaby, British
Columbia, Amgen Canada has been an important contributor to
advancements in science and innovation in Canada since 1991. The
company contributes to the development of new therapies or new uses for
existing medicines in partnership with many of Canada's leading
health-care, academic, research, government and patient organizations.
To learn more about Amgen Canada, visit www.amgen.ca.
From May 14th to May 18th, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among a
sample of 502 Canadian high school students aged 16-18 whose parents are Angus Reid Forum panel members. The sample was
statistically balanced to age, gender and region according to the most
current Census data and the dataset has been weighted by region to
ensure a sample representative of the 16-18 year population of Canada.
The margin of error is ±4.38%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or
between totals are due to rounding.
SOURCE Amgen Canada Inc.
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