Poor science

17th March 2000 at 00:00
ONCE AGAIN, science teaching faces severe difficulties. We seem no nearer producing the extra engineers and mathematicians that industry wants - let alone the science teachers we need. As we report on page 5, too many pupils in the early years of secondary school are being taught by teachers without adequate qualifications.

No wonder only one in 10 university students studies science. We are in danger of creating a vicious circle, where the dearth of scientists in one generation ensures that the pattern is repeated in the next.

One way to break this cycle is to produce innovative ad exciting books and teaching materials which turn young people on to science - but unfortunately, we seem to be failing this test as well. The 23 entries for this year's TES Primary Science Schoolbook Award were so lacklustre that the judges were unable to draw up a short-list. Too many adopted unimaginative or out-dated approaches.

Fortunately, the winning book shows what can be done. Clare Eastland's Teaching about Energy, backed by the always-adventurous Centre for Alternative Technology, will illuminate classrooms with its active inquiring approach. We need more like it.

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