Govt, manufacturers concern at funding shortage for STEM teaching

Posted on 23 Jul 2009 by The Manufacturer

The Government must produce an ambitious science and engineering strategy, conclude MPs.

The Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee (IUSS) says that while there are many positives to take from its inquiry into science and engineering policy in Government, ultimately, a broad vision for the future is missing.

IUSS chairman, Phil Willis MP, said: “I welcome the fact that these new places will be in science, technology, engineering and maths – skills that are essential to the future of the country. This is something my Committee has publicly called for on several occasions.”

“I do, however, have concerns that the additional places will not be matched by extra teaching grant to universities. Universities are struggling to meet the current demands and courses in science subjects tend to be more expensive than those in other subjects.”

Similarly, manufacturers’ organisation EEF expressed consternation that government has abandoned its pledge to maintain the funding for the teaching of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects at Universities. They assert that the absence of extra funding will lead to teaching budgets being stretched, with some universities being unable to offer the extra places as a result.

Of the announcement, EEF director of policy, Steve Radley, said: “Ministers are right to respond to the rise in demand for places this year, but the lack of extra funding for teaching is a big disappointment.”

“The focus on STEM subjects is very welcome, but it is a worrying precedent that the previous pledge not to reduce funding per student seems now to have been abandoned.”

Edward Machin