Lenovo today announced the results of the 2011 Global Student Science and Technology Outlook that assessed the attitudes of students around the world in how they view pursuits and careers in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).
Some key highlights of the survey include:
- If given the choice between taking a trip to the moon or to any place on Earth, 40% of Canadian students chose the moon and 60% would rather stay on Earth.
- Fifty-five (55) per cent of Canadian students feel that it’s very important for Canada to lead the world in science-related fields. This is the lowest percentage of students with that opinion amongst the countries surveyed, and is significantly lower than the global average of 69%.
- Canadian students indicated that parents and teachers have the strongest influence in shaping their career choices (24% for both categories). Similarly, Canadian students are most influenced by parents and teachers when it comes to pursuing careers in science and technology (21% and 23% respectively).
- When asked about which factors made respondents feel hesitant about pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), some of Canadian students’ replies included:
o Lack of confidence and ability to do well: 28% (global average of 29%)
o It involves too much work and schooling: 22% (global average of
o There aren’t many STEM career choices: 19% (compared to the global average of 15%)
- STEM careers are no longer perceived as male dominant. When asked about whether STEM careers are more suitable for men, 63% of Canadian students replied no.
While the analysis suggests that a number of these results are cause for concern about the future of the next generation in STEM-related fields, there are possible solutions for engaging students and fostering their interest in the sciences. Programs like Lenovo’s partnership with YouTube Space Lab ( http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/youtube-space-lab-lifts-off-with-lenovo-aboard-sehk-992-1571355.htm
), a worldwide initiative that challenges 14 to 18 year-old students around the world to design a science experiment that can be performed in space, provide students with the mentorship (by world-class judges) and incentives (like astronaut training and technology prizes) to encourage participation in and pursuit of STEM-related activities and careers.
Study Reveals Spirit of Adventure and Discovery for Science Strongest Amongst Youth in Emerging Market Countries Majority of 4,800 Students in Seven-Nation Lenovo Poll Rather Stay Earthbound Than Travel to the Moon, Emphasizing Need to Excite Kids About Space
TORONTO, ONTARIO — November 17, 2011—Lenovo ( http://www.lenovo.com/us/en/ )today announced the results of the 2011 Global Student Science and Technology Outlook, a multi-country survey ( http://news.lenovo.com/Case+Studies/ )that concluded students in emerging countries — India, Mexico and Russia — are prioritizing and pursuing science-related careers over students in developed countries, including Canada, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. While virtually all (89 per cent) of the respondents and 88 per cent of Canadian respondents agreed that science is cool, only slightly more than half overall are considering pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). In Canada, 52 per cent of students are interested in this career path.
When asked if given the opportunity would they prefer to take a trip to the moon or any place on Earth, just 43 per cent in total, and 40 per cent in Canada, chose the moon. Comparatively, 62 per cent of students polled in India said they would suit up for the ride.
“These results are eye-opening in calling attention to the differences in how students around the world view science as a career aspiration,” said Michael Schmedlen, worldwide director of education, Lenovo. “While the study shows some interesting disparities, the outcomes suggest possible solutions for how to engage students and foster their passion for science. As the world’s #1 PC-maker in education*, we believe programs likeour partnership with YouTube Space Lab ( http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/youtube-space-lab-lifts-off-with-lenovo-aboard-sehk-992-1571355.htm
) will do this by providing world-class judges as mentors along with phenomenally cool incentives like astronaut training and technology prizes.”
Among the prestigious judges for the competition are Canadians Chris Hadfield, astronaut from the Canadian Space Agency, and Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil.
Interest Varies by Nationality
Important to Lead the World in Science
According to the survey, students in India ranked highest (82 per cent) for those who believe it’s very important for their country to lead the world in science, followed closely by students in Mexico and Russia
(81 and 78 per cent respectively). In contrast, students in the U.S., Japan, the U.K. and Canada trailed at 73, 61, 60 and 55 per cent respectively. Furthermore, Canada demonstrated the lowest percentage of students with the opinion that science is important.
Shortage of Scientists Influences Career Choice The contrast between students in emerging and developed countries becomes more obvious when students are asked if their country has enough scientists and whether this influences their career choice. Most students around the world (73 per cent overall, 64 per cent in Canada) agree there is a lack of scientists, and students in Mexico and Russia are especially aware of this (92 per cent and 89 per cent respectively).
Across all countries, this deficiency motivates 65 per cent of kids (68 per cent in Canada) to pursue a science-related career. This motivation is highest in India (80 per cent), Mexico (75 per cent) and Russia (55 per cent). Japanese students fall somewhere in the middle while students in the U.S. and the U.K. have lower scores.
Pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering or Math When it comes to who’s actually planning to pursue a STEM-related career, students in the three emerging countries rank highest. Mexico tops the chart with 69 per cent of students saying they plan to pursue one, outpacing India’s 62 per cent and Russia’s 55 per cent. Just over half of students in the U.S. and Canada (54 and 52 per cent
respectively) have this opinion, while students in the U.K. and Japan trail significantly behind, with just 42 per cent and 35 per cent respectively answering similarly.
Aspirations to Change the World
Students consider other factors in their career choice. Of interest, most overall said that if they pursued a STEM-related career they hoped to change the world (35 per cent, with students in Canada showing at 28 per cent), with monetary factors ranking farther behind. Just 16 per cent of respondents overall say they would do it to get rich (17 per cent in Canada), while 34 per cent say they could attain both — with U.S. students agreeing with this sentiment most frequently (45 per cent) and Canadian students at 38 per cent.
Removing Barriers and Inspiring Students The study’s most encouraging finding reveals that a vast majority of students say science is cool. However, only a slight majority responded that they intend to pursue a science/STEM-related career. The top reasons cited for those not pursuing this are lack of confidence in their abilities and too much work/schooling required. Of interest, most students say they decide by middle school (grades 7-8) wh ether to pursue science and that their parents and teachers play a key role in shaping their decisions. The study also finds that access to technology is a major factor in moulding a student’s interest. Most students report the laptop/PC as the piece of technology most influential in shaping their pursuit of science, followed by Internet access.
Space Lab Global Science Competition
When it comes to exploring space, nearly all (80 per cent of) students say they want to be a space tourist. To get them closer to that goal, Lenovo is partnering with YouTube on the YouTube Space Lab ( http://www.youtube.com/spacelab )competition, an online competition asking students around the world to submit an experiment that can be performed in zero gravity aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
The winner/winning team’s experiment will be conducted in a live stream from the ISS in 2012 for the whole world to see while the winner/winning team also receives the choice of astronaut training in Star City, Russia or a trip to Tokyo to tour the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to watch their experiment blast off into space.
Red Shift Research surveyed 4,800 students online between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1, 2011, in two categories: high school (14-17 years old), and full/part-time university students (18-22 years old). Overall, completed responses totalled 800 per country in the U.S., UK and Canada, and 600 per country in India, Japan, Mexico and Russia, for a combined confidence level of 95 per cent.
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US $21 billion personal technology company serving customers in more than 160 countries, and the world’s second-largest PC vendor. Dedicated to building exceptionally engineered PCs and mobile internet devices, Lenovo’s business is built on product innovation, a highly-efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution. Formed by Lenovo Group’s acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services. Its product lines include legendary Think-branded commercial PCs and Idea-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile internet devices, including tablets and smart phones. Lenovo has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information see www.lenovo.com.