Despite news that 70 percent of jobs in the future will be in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the proportion of Ontario students studying in STEM-related programs after high school remains the same.
More than half of Ontario high school students drop science and math courses as soon as they are no longer mandatory after Grade 10. That’s according to a 2012 study put out by Let’s Talk Science, a charity aimed at supporting STEM learning in Canadian kids and youth.
The study, “Spotlight on Science Learning: The High Cost of Dropping Math or Science,” found when students have a choice, the drop off for enrollment in math and science is steep. It also reports the majority of senior high school students just don’t see the value of the courses, often reporting they think the classes are too boring or too difficult.
So how can parents convince their kids not to drop math and science in high school? There are a lot of compelling arguments in favour of sticking it out that may help you make that case. Below we have pulled together a list of the top ten reasons not to drop math and science based on the Spotlight on Science Learning study.
- The majority of the top-paying jobs and jobs of the future in Canada incorporate STEM skills;
- STEM workers earn an average of 26% more money than their non-STEM counterparts;
- STEM workers are less likely to experience job loss than their non-STEM counterparts;
- 80% of top starting salary jobs are STEM related;
- Those without Grade 12 science are shut out from 30 to 65% of post-secondary school programs;
- Students without Grade 12 math are excluded from 40 to 75% of programs at Canadian universities and those without Grade 11 or Grade 12 math lose access to about half of all college programs;
- University and college students in non-STEM studies may find they are not prepared for courses needing such things as math for statistics or science for a nutrition course;
- University degree is no longer ‘the golden ticket’ to good jobs: while the number of Canadians with degrees has slightly increased, the number of people aged 25-36 who are unemployed has increased during the same time period;
- Six of the ten most recession-proof jobs in Canada are STEM careers and another two are skilled trades;
- 85% of young entrepreneurs in Canada have commerce, science and engineering backgrounds.