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UK gov't encourages girls to study science

(Xinhua)    10:49, February 12, 2019

LONDON, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- New data published for the first time on Monday shows girls in England are substantially less likely than boys to study science and engineering subjects in high schools, and the UK government wants to address the issue.

Of high school students opting to study engineering at A level, the study route that leads to university places, just 14 percent are girls, said the Department for Education (DfE).

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb called on teachers, parents and society in general to challenge and dispel misconceptions some girls have about so-called STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He also wants to know why girls are substantially less likely than boys to consider taking the subjects at high school

DfE said while the number of girls taking up STEM subjects at A Level has increased by 26 percent since 2010, the new research shows 15-year-old boys are more likely than girls to see STEM subjects as being useful when it comes to getting a job, and that girls are less likely to consider a STEM subject as their favorite choices.

Speaking on International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Gibb said: "There is growing demand for STEM skills, particularly for sectors such as engineering, construction and manufacturing, and it's essential that gender is no barrier to ensuring that all young people have the knowledge and skills to succeed in our outward looking and dynamic economy."

Gibb said considerable progress has been made in increasing girls' participation in STEM subjects since 2010, with the proportion of girls taking STEM A Levels increasing by a quarter, and 25 percent more women accepted onto full-time STEM undergraduate courses.

"We are determined to continue this trend, and that's why we are funding programs to increase the take up of maths, computing and physics, and have reformed the school curriculum to make sure it meets the needs of employers," he added.

He said the new research shows certain misconceptions about STEM subjects need to be dispelled to help encourage scientists of future generations.

When asked what they planned to study at A-Level, female pupils made up the minority of those naming STEM subjects, particularly, in engineering (14 percent of girls against 86 percent of boys), computing (15 percent against 85 percent) and physics (22 percent against 78 percent).

The new research was based on a survey of more than 10,000 15-year-olds, showing girls enjoy STEM subjects less than boys. It also showed the proportion of male pupils who ranked STEM subjects first for enjoyment was almost twice that for females.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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