U.S. lags Portugal, Estonia in science grads

February 7, 2012

President Barack Obama will seek $80 million in new funding for a program to boost science and math education in U.S. schools. Here is a graph from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that illustrates the extent of the shortfall on a population-adjusted basis:

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Leading in science and technology is positively correlated with economic hegemony. According to this chart, US is clearly not leading the pack anymore. However, this graph might be misleading and might make some think that the US is not leading in the science and technology. There might be two issues here:
First, this graph clearly shows that US do not produce as much STEM graduates as other countries like Korea, New Zealand, even Turkey. Critical question here is that “where do all these STEM graduates go after graduation?” One might argue that they mostly go to US, or work for US based firms. If that is the case then one might argue that it is not s surprising or alarming fact that US is falling behind, since US might simply be importing STEM graduates like they import a product. There might be reasons behind the motivation for a STEM graduate to come and work in the US. Interestingly, a meticuluous examination of the post-graduate work path of STEM graduates from outside US might show that there is a pattern…
On the other hand, one anomaly is quite striking for me. Among all the countries in the chart, there is only one country where women STEM graduates are greater than men. In fact, in most of the cases men are significantly higher than women. That country is Turkey. I wonder what might be the reason behind this, and frankly I am not going seeking cultural explanations?

Posted by orenutku | Report as abusive