Thursday, February 02, 2006

Royal Society of NZ Alert - 408

I somehow found this mailing list and subscribed. With a couple of gig of free email archive at Google, who cares if i ever actually read the stuff...

This nugget appealed to me from this weeks missive:

Royal Society Alert - Issue 408
Latest Alert can be read by Royal Society New Zealand members on the web:
Excerpts from Biosecurity, Issue 64
New Zealand as a nation depends on the quality of its science. We are
probably the only developed nation in the world with an economy that is so
heavily dependent on the production of primary industry-based products. We
earn over 50% of our entire foreign exchange income from what we grow and
sell to overseas markets. Yet New Zealand is struggling to get young people
into scientific fields at a time when there is a wide range of stimulating
and valuable work to be done and the nation's exporting future needs to be
developed and protected.

Let me suggest that young people aren't stupid and (despite the obvious need going into the future) can see that NZ doesn't invest in science/scientists and that the overwhelming evidence is that you have more career security being a lawyer/accountant/electrician/chef than you will ever have investing >10 years of your life into becoming a scientist. Even the current crop of scientists aren't recommending anyone get into it, as this comment from the President of the NZ Association of Scientists indicates.
Until the govt/industry start pulling the demand for science graduates, i think the number choosing it as a career is about right. I think the culture of selling education without even a nod as to the career path you're signing up for is part of the problem and was emminently foreseeable when they started rolling out the policy in the late 80's.


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