The technological and digital sector suffers from a problem of generalized talent acquisition, both in Europe and in Spain. According to the data of the Ministry of Education, between 2010 and 2017 the enrollments in engineering and architecture studies decreased in Spain by 28%. The study “The challenge of STEM vocations” made by DigitalES and elaborated by EY, analyzes this fall together with the situation of the training programs in secondary, FP and University, and tries to find answers to why the students of our classrooms discard the subjects that form the most demanded professionals of today and of the future According to the VIII Adecco Report, among the seven most demanded degrees in the job offer are three engineering.
In the presentation of the study held in Madrid, the Minister of Education Isabel Celaá, He pointed out that "the challenge of today's school is not only to know how to read and write, but also to unite the development of the skills of the digital revolution, and we cannot delay."
For the acting Government spokeswoman, the Draft Education Law passed in February, but which has not yet been discussed in Parliament, “raises a change in the approach that focuses on children's rights, transverse and inclusive education, sustainable development and coeducation to teach how to resolve conflicts in children ”.
“Our intention is to develop a digital education strategy with 236 million investment, connected with the Autonomous Communities and with other successful experiences,” said Celaá, who has defended a State Pact: “There are no dissonant voices; we can make a State Pact for STEM education and the convenience of promoting these vocations in the face of the digital revolution ”.
Technology and mathematics, key subjects absent from the curriculum of students and teachers
As Victoria Fraguas, of EY, a consultant who has made the report, explained, on the one hand, the data reflect the difficulty students find in dealing with certain STEM subjects such as mathematics, as well as insufficient training in others like technology. The report reflects that 73% of high school students admit having difficulties in understanding mathematics. In addition, 30% of secondary school students have not taken any technological subject since this is always presented as optional and conditioned to the offer of each center.
According to the report, 59% of school directors believe that the teachers in their centers do not receive the necessary training to guide students in the choice of itinerary.
In the current Teaching curriculum only between 10% and 12% of the credits are allocated to mathematics and / or ICT. The possibility of specializing in STEM subjects is very low since only 1 in 10 Spanish universities includes specialties in mathematics and / or ICT. According to the DigitalES study, only 3% of the teachers surveyed are specialized in mathematics, technology or ICT. In addition, 59% of teachers believe that the knowledge acquired in mathematics during the career is not enough and 85% believe that they need more ICT training to better develop their work.
For Miguel Angel Turrado, of HP Spain, collaborator in the realization of the study together with the publishing house SM and Transforma España, “job offers are not covered, in our company vacancies take an average of 76 days to fill and this means a huge handicap in an environment as competitive as the current one ”
Lack of guidance and knowledge
The current law considers the educational and professional orientation of the students necessary and fundamental in order to have sufficient tools to facilitate decision making. The lack of orientation of the students impacts from an early age by having to choose itinerary in the school until the choice of the career you want to study at the end of the Baccalaureate. The report analyzes the causes wielded by students and teachers when deciding on some studies or others.
The school directors emphasize that only 38% of the students of Secondary, Baccalaureate and FP are clear about what they want to study and maintain the initially chosen itinerary. In addition, 25% of the students of Secondary, Baccalaureate and FP assure that they would not choose to train in STEM branches such as Engineering and Architecture because they do not know the job opportunities offered by that branch. (According to the VIII Adecco Report, among the seven most demanded degrees in the job offer are three engineering).
Magí Almirall, of the publishing house SM, points out that “we need to put technology in all the projects of the schools in a transversal way” to increase their knowledge and the opportunities they offer in the workplace.
Only 25% of girls
While in the university the girls form the majority group (55% girls) the representation of these in engineering did not exceed 25% in 2018. The results of the study show that in these studies there is also a greater decrease in enrollment in girls than in boys In this context, 3 key points have been analyzed: self-confidence about STEM subjects, having greater social orientation and influence of expectations and stereotypes.
According to the DigitalES report, girls show less self-confidence than boys, recognizing that they have more difficulty than these to understand mathematics and solve problems (78% vs. 67%).
In addition, 76% of the directors were in favor of believing that there are still certain stereotypes related to the gender of students and careers.
Girls with female models in the scientific-technological field show an interest rate in STEM subjects higher than those that have none (41% vs. 26%). For Reyes Escolano, of Fundación Transforma, "stereotypes and the expectations of society are still decisive when choosing higher education."
The report summarizes some recommendations to improve the problems identified:
- Secondary, Baccalaureate and FP students do not have sufficient academic technical training. Stimulate extracurricular STEM activities and technology as a transverse and compulsory subject.
- In Primary Education, teachers do not have sufficient training or confidence to teach mathematics and technology. Improve the programs of Teaching in technical matters.
- The teachers They need more training to guide students in academic decision making. Promote exclusive guidance departments.
- A more social vision about technical careers
- Today they still exist stereotypes associated to certain technical careers that must be eliminated, increasing the reference visibility Feminine in these matters.
Download report here