02 June 2008

Three articles

Three articles in today's Globe and Mail offer some well rounded insights into science, technology, and the role and function of education in supporting the S&T Strategy.

The first is about women leaving science occupations. Fighting the female brain drain looks at the increasing numbers of women entering - and then leaving - science professions. The article makes a key point that while it is important to encourage new immigrants into the science and technology areas, it is equally, if not more, important to encourage women to enter these profession. It is also important to ensure that women can find a supportive work environment so that they continue to work in these important areas.

The second article is about the five new universities in BC. BC, as does Alberta, has a more advanced and articulated education system than Ontario, insofar as students are able to achieve credentials through a college+university credit transfer system (a subject of earlier posts * *). While the BC case has brought to the fore issues of qualifications, market conditions, and student choice (not to mention what might actually be best for the country), it is clear that much debate will ensue as we collectively work out ways to ensure we meet the educational challenges facing us now, and in the near future. Here I am thinking of the need for increasing qualifications, credentials laddering, and life long learning, all principal components of a well educated and highly functioning productive society.

The third article is about the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, currently underway at UBC. Academics in these areas are typically funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and are now mobilizing for increased awareness of the relevance of some of these disciplines to the science and technology agenda. This makes sense. We need to promote and foster deep understanding of how science, technology and engineering influence our social and economic productivity.

Canada's productivity depends on bringing together multiple and disparate voices, and the ability to translate research into meaningful social and economic outputs will ensure that we support relevant research that Canadians can feel good about supporting with taxpayer dollars.

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