MP Elizabeth Truss is backing a campaign to improve pupils’ perceptions of maths and physics, because they are putting them off studying the subjects after GCSEs.
When teenagers were asked about their views on maths and physics in a focus group run by the DfE, the words they used were ‘male’, ‘boring’ and ‘irrelevant’, the Telegraph reports. Tackling these misperceptions is the focus of a new campaign that’s being launched by Education Minister Elizabeth Truss and Chancellor George Osborne.
Underlying the campaign is the fact that half of all UK co-educational state schools have no girls studying physics at A-level and only 2% of girls studying A-levels opt to take the subject. Compared to other countries, the proportion of pupils taking these subjects is low; only 13% of students study maths at A-level, compared to 85% of students in Japan and 70% in Taiwan taking an equivalent qualification.
The new campaign, Your Life, wants to see an increase of 50% in the number of students studying physics and maths within three years, and one way of doing this is tackling the misconception that the subjects are ‘irrelevant’. It is doing this by highlighting career paths, earning potential and the link between these subjects and entrepreneurship. “We want to get the message across that if students want a successful career in business or want to be an entrepreneur, then maths and science can help,” Ms. Truss said. “People in careers that involve science and technology often earn 20% more than people in different sectors, but that message isn’t getting through to pupils making their A-level choices. We want to make it a lot clearer.”
Are you aware of teenagers’ mistaken ideas about maths and physics? Will this campaign help?