You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
It is observed that in many countries not enough students are choosing to study science subjects. What are the causes? And what will be the effects on society?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
In recent years, fewer students have preferred to study science subjects and this seems to be an increasingly common trend in many countries. There are a number of reasons behind this tendency and I would argue that it has a serious negative impact on society.
Two important factors influence the decision of some students not to opt for science modules in school or university. Firstly, science subjects are widelyperceived as demanding in terms of both workload and intellectual content. Thus, the reluctance of some students to embark on subjects such as biology, physics or chemistry, which they fear will be too challenging, is understandable. Secondly, it is true that in many Western countries, the public image of science and scientists is unglamorous. In popular TV programmes, for example, science students are portrayed as boring ‘geeks’, and this deters youngsters from taking up science as a career.
The effects of this trend on society are potentially grave. One significant problem may be that not enough qualified science students come through the educational system to supply the trained workforce that certain branches of industry require for their research and development purposes. This will, in turn, affect national economic expansion, essential for raising living standards. Another negative impact is the imbalance in the economy which results from the growing number of students who choose to take arts and humanities subjects rather than to study science. Almost certainly, this will result in rising unemployment among school leavers and graduates who have followed such courses. Surveys of graduate unemployment in the USA and Europe indicate that this is a real concern.
In conclusion, there are dangers in the increasing shift away from studying science subjects and the causes of this phenomenon should be addressed urgently.
opt for: choose a particular course of action.
widely perceived: understood or thought about in a particular way – by a lot of people.
workload: the amount of work that has to be done by a particular person or organisation.
intellectual content: the things studied in science courses which require thought and intelligence to understand.
embark on: start to do something new or difficult.
unglamorous: not attractive or exciting.
‘geeks’: people who are boring, wear unfashionable clothes and do not know how to act in social situations.
take up: start something, such as a job or hobby.
economic expansion: the situation in which the economy of a country is growing.
imbalance: a situation in which two or more things are not the same size, in a way that causes problems.
humanities: the subjects of study which deal with how people think and behave.
shift: a change in direction.
address: think about a problem and decide what you are going to do to deal with it.