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An understanding of science and technology is necessary for those whose career depends on it directly of course, but also for any citizen who wishes to make informed choices about many controversial issues being debated today. A strong S&T base is vital for the economy too, as research and innovation increasingly decide the winners and losers in international competition for jobs and markets. Recently, a number of countries have expressed the fear that interest in S&T is declining, even as demand for S&T graduates grows. The Global Science Forum was asked to investigate whether this decline was really happening, and to analyse the reasons for students' choice of study and career as well as possible actions to encourage student interest in S&T studies. Encouraging Student Interest in Science and Technology Studies examines overall trends in higher education enrolments and the evolution of S&T compared with other disciplines.
The results suggest that although absolute numbers of S&T students have been rising as access to higher levels of education expands in OECD economies, the relative share of S&T students among the overall student population has been falling, . The report shows that encouraging interest in S&T studies requires action to tackle a host of issues inside and outside the education system, ranging from teacher training and curriculum design to improving the image of S&T careers. Numerous examples of national initiatives are used to complement the analyses to derive a set of practical recommendations.