Science & Technology

Science education - an investment in Canada's future

By Rebecca Napier
Holy Heart of Mary
St. John's, Newfoundland

   An accurate perception of how well students can understand and apply science benefits Canadians immensely. In many ways, science is an enjoyable subject to take at all education levels. Furthermore, science is extremely relevant concerning the international job market. Highly motivated, well-educated students are more likely to obtain a career in the field of science than a student who does poorly.

It is important for Canadians to have a good indication of how well students are doing in science for numerous reasons. First, the federal government annually provides the 10 provinces with grants and transfer payments to spend on a myriad of things including education. (A branch of the federal government runs both the territories' education departments.) Students' marks may reflect if the money is being spent the best way possible. If students are achieving high marks in science, they should be encouraged to pursue a science career and science programs should be expanded and improved. New programs could start to reflect changing scientific knowledge (for example, biotechnology). However, one should keep in mind that dispensing money into other areas, such as arts, would allow students to become diverse and well-rounded. If students receive poor grades in science, perhaps science-related programs need additional money invested in them.

Alternatively, maybe the money spent on educating students about science is being spent unwisely. The manner in which teachers teach may have a consequential impact upon students' grades. Perhaps in-depth research regarding techniques teachers use could occur. Provinces and territories could compare the way they budget their money and the techniques they use. So, if one particular province produces students that excel in science, they could help other provinces whose students do not perform as well. This process would improve their system. The concept of comparison could occur as well on a regional scale amongst a city or town's schools. Then, when countries compare how well students do in science, since Canadians would improve together, we would rank higher internationally.

Second, having an idea of how well students are doing in science will help predict Canada's future. If students are doing well in science because they have intentions to seek a career in a certain field Canada's future is a very positive and bright one. Canada or Canadian institutions can be international "centres of excellence" in a variety of fields.

As a society, we need research done in science for significant reasons. Two excellent examples are medicine, to acquire better medications and techniques, and the environment, to learn how to keep it clean and healthy. To mention all the branches of science useful to Canada, one could compose an entire essay. One can see an advantage to knowing how well students are doing in science and performance in science could be used as indicator in assessing the educational system.

Most students find science fun for various reasons. Science related activities, such as crosswords, Jeopardy and other games, are a pleasant break from endless taking notes and reading mundane texts. Field trips to local science facilities, zoos, forests, museums, etc. are enjoyable ways for students of all ages to learn about science. Using the Internet as a resource to write projects or do activities can be fun too. Laboratory tests and experiments done in the classroom are often fun to do because students are able to use their hands and mind to explore science more practically. Some students obtain a great amount of satisfaction from completing a lab well. The challenge some science courses offer attracts countless students. So, science can be fun.

Science plays a relatively large role in the international job market. Many countries developed interests in varied fields of science as a result of the second world war. Advances in explosives, lasers, satellites, naval vessels, etc. were being made as countries found them necessary to compete in the cold war. The research and interest that began over fifty years ago continues to grow today all over the world. Thus, science is providing world wide opportunities for jobs suited for students who display a sincere interest. Companies frequently choose people who have a background knowledge in technology over those students who have taken science courses. A particular essential skill employers seek is the ability to type and are conversant with computer technology. Therefore students who do well in science are at an incredible edge over those who do not.

It is very important for Canada to know how well students do in science. A knowledge of how well students are performing in science shows Canada if the programs invested in are worthwhile and productive, and foretell the type of future in science it will have. Some students enjoy studying science. They like participating in the activities offered and enjoy the challenge. Science also has an impact on the international job market. Science offers careers all around the world to students who strive to achieve their goals.