The House of Lords Science & Technology Committee has published its new report on Higher Education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) Subjects, following an extensive inquiry to which CaSE submitted evidence.
Lord Willis, chair of the sub-committee responsible for the report, commented that “it is vital that higher education in the UK has a strong STEM sector and is able to produce the graduates and postgraduates hi-tech industries will demand.”
We fully agree, but further note that the breadth and importance of Lord Willis’ recommendations suggest that science and engineering are a long way from having an ‘easy ride’ at the moment.
The committee echoed our concerns over careers advice, funding for undergraduate STEM degrees, postgraduate courses, and much else.
Focus on skills
We particularly welcome the report’s focus on trying to address the mismatch between the skills which employers want from science and engineering graduates, and the skills which those graduates actually leave university with. We are concerned that this is may becoming more of a barrier to high-tech firms investing in the UK.
CaSE director Imran Khan commented:
“If the Government adopts the report’s recommendations, including some serious analysis of what skills employers need compared to what our higher education sector is actually producing, we might get a genuinely joined-up strategy for STEM education – which is what the UK is desperately going to need if we’re to be competitive in tomorrow’s high-tech economy.”
Although Parliamentary Select Committees have no direct power to compel the Government to make specific decisions, the Government is obliged to write to them and respond to each of their recommendations within three months of a report’s publication. CaSE will be calling on the Government to accept the Committee’s recommendations.